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Since Hong Kong's reversion to China in 1997, the Special Administrative Region's government and its people have grappled with the problem of trying to pursue dual objectives at the same time. Firstly, to adjust to being a 'new' part of China and what that means in terms of national consciousness and local identities, particularly given the Beijing leaders' expectations that Hongkongers should come to 'love China'. Secondly, drawing at least in part on the past British colonial legacy, to maintain Hong Kong's international role as a cosmopolitan and commercial city as typified through the aspiration to be 'Asia's world city'. This paper explores the ways in which these two competing narratives intersect in the sports policy arena. Sport is frequently seen as a means to express or reflect nationalism or at the very least contribute to the formation of national identity. By using the case studies of Hong Kong's partial involvement in the 2008 Beijing Olympics (hosting the equestrian events), its hosting of the 2009 East Asian Games and the abortive domestic debates over applying to host the Asian Games, it will be shown that the mixed messages coming from these mega-events (or putative mega-events) reflect the ambivalence felt by many Hongkongers themselves about their place in China and the world.


CPPS Working Paper Series No.192 (05/13)

Recommended Citation

Bridges, B. (2013). Hong Kong's dual identities and sporting mega-event policy (CPPS Working Paper Series no.192). Retrieved from Lingnan University website: