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Digital Archive International History Declassified

Podcast

Episode 27 - Sport in the PRC

Amanda Shuman

Amanda Shuman explains how sport was promoted within the People's Republic of China and seen as an integral part of socialist politics and education.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Toward the end of the Cold War, mainland China rose suddenly to become an international power at sporting competitions like the Olympics. Amanda Shuman (University of Freiburg) explains how sport was promoted within the People’s Republic of China and seen as an integral part of socialist politics and education.

Chinese participation in international events helped the PRC demonstrate its strength on a global stage and also promote political ends like the “Resist America Aid Korea” campaign. Domestically, athletes were used in PRC propaganda and served as models of the ideal communist citizen. In the 1960s, Chinese officials strategically targeted specific sports for international competition and developed rigorous training regimes, focusing especially on the “Three Big Ball Sports”: basketball, volleyball, and football.

Image: Young eagles on Mount Swallow by Yang Peizhang, published in Zhongguo meishu nianjian 1949-1989 (Nanning: Guangxi meishu chubanshe, 1993).

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