Celebrations and Contestations of Chineseness - The Beijing 2008 Olympics and 21st Century Imaginations of Place, Culture and Identity


The forthcoming Olympic Games in Beijing (2008) present a unique opportunity to analyze how an upcoming global power promotes itself to its citizens and to the world, and the voices of support and discontent this promotion will provoke. This study will analyze how Chinese authorities (re-)construct a rooted yet new Beijing that signifies a China ready for the 21st century. Given the communication potentials offered by old and, particularly, new media technologies, these imaginations are never fully under the control of the Chinese state but instead also instigate possibilities of protest.
This study consists of three interlocking subprojects. The first project, on promotion, will analyze how China as an upcoming global power promotes itself nationally to its citizens and globally to the world. The second project scrutinizes the pivotal and potentially critical role of local, regional and global media - television and the Internet - in the Chinese Communist Party's attempt to present a new China, including the role of protest groups. The final project investigates voices of compliance and discontent by zooming in on how bloggers and visual artists in Beijing, Hong Kong and Taipei - two key actors in challenging official discourse in China - appropriate the Games.
The research design includes production, text and audience, while a multi-method approach combines a critical discourse analysis with ethnographic field research. This project takes issue with the balancing act of the Chinese state between nation-building projects and cosmopolitan demands. It shows how journalists, protest groups, bloggers and artists respond to, that is: comply, appropriate, challenge and undermine, the state's attempt to create a unified imagined community. This project aims to understand the cultural impact the Beijing Games will trigger, which concerns not only the Chinese people but, given the increasing global importance of China, also the world at large.


Book or monography

  • B.J. de Kloet(2010): China with a Cut pp. 255 , Amsterdam
  • B.J. de Kloet, Y.F. Chow(2013): Sonic Multiplicities , Bristol


  • P.L.G. Chong(2012): China Rejuvenated?  September 7, 2012
  • G. Zeng(2013):  May 21, 2013

Chapter in book

  • J. Teurlings, J. Kooijman, B.J. de Kloet, W. Strauven, P. Pisters(2008): Mind the Screen - Media Concepts According to Thomas Elsaesser pp. 345 - 359 , Amsterdam
  • M. Barker, E. Matthijs, B.J. de Kloet, G. Kuipers(2008): Watching the Lord of the Rings: Tolkien's World Audiences pp. 131 - 148 , New York
  • B.J. de Kloet, W.L. Chong, T.W. Ngo(2008): China in Verandering - Balans en toekomst van de hervormingen pp. 120 - 142 , Almere
  • J. Wang, G.P.L. Chong, B.J. de Kloet, S. Landsberger(2011): Soft Power in China pp. 117 - 133 , London
  • J. Hermes, B.J. de Kloet, M. Reesink(2011): Inleiding Televisiestudies pp. 213 - 226 , Den Haag
  • P. Ho, B.J. de Kloet, G.P.L. Chong(2011): Paradoxaal China pp. 77 - 93 , Alemere
  • B.J. de Kloet, J. Downing(2011): Encyclopedia of Social Movement Media pp. 558 - 559 , Los Angeles
  • J. Wang, B.J. de Kloet, G.P.L. Chong, S. Landsberger(2011): The Middle Kingdom (Re)-imagined: How China Tells Its Story to the World pp. 117 - 134 , New York
  • J. de Bruin, B.J. de Kloet, K. Zwaan(2012): Adapting Idols pp. 135 - 150 , Surrey
  • B.J. de Kloet, L. Scheen, L. Scheen, B.J. de Kloet(2013): Spectacle and the City: Urbanity in Popular Culture and Art in East Asia pp. 77 - 96 , Amsterdam
  • B.J. de Kloet, G.P.L. Chong, L. Scheen(2013): Spectacle and the City pp. 135 - 155 , Amsterdam
  • L. Scheen, B.J. de Kloet, B.J. de Kloet, L. Scheen(2013): Spectacle and the City: Urbanity in Popular Culture and Art in East Asia pp. 11 - 20 , Amsterdam

Scientific article

  • B.J. de Kloet, L. Wei(2008): Flaming a Debate - On the multiple meanings of the Olympic torch relay spectacle Blind - Interdisciplinair Tijdschrift
  • B.J. de Kloet, Y.F. Chow(2008): Building Memories - A Study of Pop Venues in Hong Kong Berliner China Hefte pp. 53 - 62
  • B.J. de Kloet, L. Wei, G.P.L. Chong(2008): The Beijing Olympics and the Art of Nation-State Maintenance China Aktuell ? Journal of Current Chinese Affairs pp. 6 - 36
  • G.P.L. Chong(2008): China op het Olympische erepodium Agora
  • B.J. de Kloet(2008): Gendering China Studies - Peripheral Perspectives, Central Questions China Information pp. 195 - 222
  • B.J. de Kloet(2008): Pyjama's, Nylon Stockings and Other Olympic Dreams Wear - The Journal of Homeshop pp. 24 - 28
  • B.J. de Kloet, Y.F. Chow(2008): The Production of Locality in Global Pop - A Comparative Study of Pop Fans in The Netherlands and Hong Kong Participations
  • Y.F. Chow, B.J. de Kloet(2008): Book Review of Zhang Zhen (ed.), ?The Urban Generation: Chinese Cinema and Society at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century." China Information pp. 519 - 522
  • G. Kuipers, B.J. de Kloet(2009): Banal cosmopolitanism and The Lord of the Rings: The limited role of national differences in global media consumption Poetics pp. 99 - 118
  • B.J. de Kloet(2009): Book review of Monroe E. Price & Daniel Dayan (Eds.), ?Owning the Olympics: Narratives of the New China International Journal of Communication pp. 641 - 646
  • B.J. de Kloet(2009): Book Review of Michael Keane, ?Created in China: The Great New Leap Forward China Information pp. 519 - 522
  • B.J. de Kloet, Y.F. Chow(2009): All that has melted into bits and bytes becomes solid Journal of Chinese Cinemas pp. 79 - 82
  • G. Zeng(2009): The Transformation of Nightlife Districts in Guangzhou, 1995-2009: Globalization, Dynamism, and Control Chinese Sociology & Anthropology pp. 56 - 75
  • B.J. de Kloet(2010): Created in China Social Semiotics pp. 441 - 456
  • Y.F. Chow, B.J. de Kloet, H Leung(2010): Towards an Ethics of Slowness in an Era of Academic Corporatism Espacetempts
  • B.J. de Kloet, Y. F. Chow(2011): Blowing in the China Wind Visual Anthropology pp. 59 - 76
  • G.P.L. Chong(2011): Volunteers as the ?new? model citizens: Governing citizens through soft power China Information pp. 33 - 59
  • B.J. de Kloet(2012): Book Review of Yomi Braester's 'Painting the City Red: Chinese Cinema and the Urban Contract' China Information pp. 397 - 398
  • B.J. de Kloet(2012): Book Review of Mark L. Moskowitz's 'Cries of Joy, Songs of Sorrow: Chinese Pop Music and Its Cultural Connotations' The China Quarterly pp. 537 - 539
  • B.J. de Kloet, Z. Guohua, T. Poell(2013): Will the Real Weibo please Stand Up? Chinese Journal of Communication pp. 1 - 18
  • B.J. de Kloet, Y.F. Chow(2013): Flânerie and Acrophilia in the Postmetropolis Journal of Chinese Cinemas pp. 139 - 155
  • G.P.L. Chong(2013): Chinese Bodies That Matter International Journal of the History of Sport pp. 242 - 266
  • B.J. de Kloet, L. Scheen(2013): Pudong, the Shanzhai Global City European Journal of Cultural Studies pp. 692 - 709
  • B.J. de Kloet(2014): Europe as Façade European Journal of Cultural Studies pp. 58 - 74
  • Y.F. Chow, B.J. de Kloet(2014): The Spectre of Europe European Journal of Cultural Studies pp. 3 - 15

Professional publication

  • G.P.L. Chong, B.J. de Kloet(2008): Welkom in Olympisch Peking!
  • B.J. de Kloet(2008): Onze man in Beijing
  • B.J. de Kloet(2009): Bloggers, Hackers and the King Kong Syndrome

Publication meant for a broad audience

  • (2010): Sun Xun ? Memories of a Forgotten Past
  • B.J. de Kloet, Y.F. Chow(2010): Desperately Seeking the Dutch Diasporic Cinema
  • B.J. de Kloet(2010): Peking de Verdwaalde Stad
  • B.J. de Kloet(2011): Speldje van misplaatstheid pp. 18 - 19
  • B.J. de Kloet(2013): Speldje van misplaatstheid pp. 49 - 51
  • B.J. de Kloet(2013): Convivial China pp. 49 - 51

Publications for the general public

  • T. Poell, B.J. de Kloet(2011): Online Activism and Chinese Voices of Discontent
  • B.J. de Kloet(2011): Factories and Slaughterhouses
  • B.J. de Kloet(2011): Nevermind Politics
  • Y.F. Chow, B.J. de Kloet(2012): Theorising the Fake
  • B.J. de Kloet, Y.F. Chow(2012): Standing, Sitting and Jumping
  • B.J. de Kloet(2012): Series of four lectures at Humanities programme of Baptist University, Hong Kong, March-May
  • B.J. de Kloet(2012): Creativity and Criticality in a Globalizing China
  • B.J. de Kloet(2012): Constructive Contestation Around Urban Heritage in Taipei
  • B.J. de Kloet, D. Nieborg(2013): In Policy We Trust
  • B.J. de Kloet(2013): Welcome to the Desert of the Fake
  • L. Schmidt, B.J. de Kloet, Y.F. Chow(2013): From Handover to Leftover
  • B.J. de Kloet(2013): Destruction, Demolition and Disappearance, or, Getting Lost in Beijing
  • B.J. de Kloet(2013): Convivial China
  • B.J. de Kloet(2013): What's Creativity Got To Do With It?
  • B.J. de Kloet(2013): Going Global
  • L. Schmidt, B.J. de Kloet(2013): Verlangen, verzet of nostalgie? Postkoloniale oprispingen in Yogyakarta en Hong Kong
  • (2013): Fuck off, maar wie dan? Het probleem van kritiek in de Chinese kunst
  • (2014): Looking for a Gown
  • (2014): Fernando Pessoa en de Kapper


Project number


Main applicant

Prof. dr. ir. B.J. de Kloet

Affiliated with

Universiteit van Amsterdam, Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Studies

Team members

Dr. P.L.G. Chong, Prof. dr. ir. B.J. de Kloet, Dhr. W. Liu MA, Dr. G. Zeng


01/09/2007 to 10/06/2013