Why Beijing Bid For The 2008 Olympic Games Economics Essay

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The Olympic Games casts a series of magic on the host countries who benefit largely from it, which in turn encourages many countries around the world compete to bid for it. Involving thousands of sports and athletes and some other aspects like economy, politics and environment, the Games has become one of the most attractive and significant mega events since it started from Athens in 1896. Beijing, the capital of China, is no exception. Beijing bid twice and triumphed finally in 2001 in spite of a narrow failure in 1993. As a leader of minority Socialist states, China prepared greatly for the bid and hoped to make great progress through it.

Chinese people suffered from sustained discrimination on people's physical fitness, as mocked as "sick man of east Asia", and were invaded by Western Powers since 1840. With unfair treatment during past decades, however, Chinese people keep struggling along to fight against the Powers, trying to equip their bodies with stronger muscles. They have been longing to host the Games, one of the most outstanding mega events, to show their endeavors. The first Chinese Olympic commissioner Wang Zhengyan with two other Chinese gymnasts provided a request to hold the 15th Olympic Games in 1952, when China had just won the Anti-Japanese War, which led to a big debate in China then. <6>

Thanks to the reforms and opening-up policy, China equipped itself with a highly-developed national power and improved population quality. In this case, the reforms and opening-up policy is defined as internal reforms, such as democracy development and legal system improvement, and external opening up to the world for export expansion. Also, China has held many mega-events, which facilitates it to accumulate useful experience. Consequently, Beijing bid for the 2000 Olympic Games in 1991. Nevertheless, it failed narrowly for some reasons and the obstructions while Sydney in Australia got the scarce opportunity. Though lost the bid, China's participation gave the world a change to a better understanding of China and in turn facilitate China know the world better. <6>

The Olympic Games appears to have positive impact on Beijing especially in economy aspect. After the comparison between Beijing and Toronto during the 2008 Games bid process, the essay focuses on the advantages and disadvantages of bidding and outcomes of the Games to Beijing, aiming to show that it is worth to bid and host the Olympic Games though some drawbacks existed.

2. Bid process

The bidding process for the 2008 Summer Olympics was the first in which the process consisted of two phases. During the first phase, which begins immediately after the bid submission deadline, the "applicant cities" are required to answer a questionnaire covering themes of importance to a successful Games organization, which allows the IOC to analyze the cities' hosting capacities and the strengths and weaknesses of their plans. Following a detailed study of the submitted questionnaires and ensuing reports, the IOC Executive Board selects the cities that are qualified to proceed to the next phase. The second phase is the true candidature stage: the accepted applicant cities (from now on referred to as "candidate cities") are required to submit a second questionnaire in the form of an extended, more detailed, candidature file, which is carefully studied by the IOC Evaluation Commission, a group composed of IOC members, representatives of international sport federations, NOCs, athletes, the International Paralympic Committee, and international experts in various fields. The members of the Evaluation Commission then make four-day inspection visits to each of the candidate cities, where they check the proposed venues and are briefed about details of the themes covered in the candidature file. The Evaluation Commission communicates the results of its inspections in a report sent to the IOC members up to one month before the electing IOC Session. <4>

The official Xinhua News Agency release the news at once, calling the decision "another milestone in China's rising international status and a historical event in the great renaissance of the Chinese nation." On the one hand, though some China's opposition like Tibetan activists who protest Chinese rule of Tibet since 1950 have already promised to push for a boycott of the Games, the Beijing's bid team stressed that the Games would improve human rights and the standard of living in China. Moreover, it will accelerate openness in China and facilitate improvement in its record on human rights.

On the other hand, Toronto showed its own advantages that the existence of well-organized Olympic protest groups and the evidence of disunity are detrimental to a bid's chances. Also, during the final presentation versus Beijing, Toronto highlighted its characteristics of risk-free, multiculturalism and safety of city. It stressed the prepared three-quarters of the infrastructure, and highly support from all three levels of government. Similarly, Toronto got its opposite side too. "Jan Borowy, a member of Bread Not Circuses, said that the Olympics would have a negative impact on any city."<5>. Toronto's loss resulted to unexpected anti-Games lobbies, one of which named 'Bread not Circuses', meaning that public money should be spent on necessities-'bread' -rather than on luxury sporting festivals-'circuses'. It argued that the Games adversely affected the poor, the homeless and the environment. The lobby also contended that money paid for the Games should be shifted to the place where most needed. After the defeat of the Toronto bid, 'Bread not Circuses' has shifted its attention to the Vancouver bid for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. To some extent, Toronto's loss could have positive implications for the bid by Vancouver and Whistler for the 2010 Winter Games and it eventually came true. <8>

3. Advantages and disadvantages

3.1. Economy

Economy is the fundamental factor of a country when decide whether to bid the Games that is not only an honor but a way to accelerate one's economy as well. In this case, it mainly refers to exports and Gross Domestic Product (GDP)


It is the overwhelming economic growth that encourages countries to bid for the Games. (Malfas, Theodoraki & Houlihan, 2004), which often raise argument on whether holding the Games has potential positive influence on the local economy. Export is in the first place. Andrew (2009) states that the Games signals trade liberalization which means a positive impact on the national export. He showed some proof to indicate that hosting this mega event affect positively on national exports. To be specific, trade is around 30% higher for countries that have hosted the Olympics. The huge effect is statistically robust, permanent, and large, which would offset Games costs in the long run. China concluded negotiations successfully with the World Trade Organization, which is just two months after the successful bid. Rome, Tokyo, Spain and Korea also reveal the fact that countries won the bid and expanded its trade liberalization. As a country pursuing a trade-oriented development strategy, Beijing is attracted to obtain such an outcome. According to incomplete statistics, the total incoming of finance can be amazingly 1.625 billion dollars. Except for total investment, China has surplus of 16 million dollars, meaning the annual GDP growth rate during the Olympic preparation period achieved 11.8 percent (China Government Statistics, 2008). Highly economic growth show the world how successful the Beijing Olympic Games. Moreover, the quality of new jobs is increasingly 6 hundred thousand each year, greatly easing the unemployment rate of Beijing and providing plenty of migrant workers a temporary stable guarantee. Simultaneously, the opening ceremony brings Beijing out to the whole world, attracting thousands of tourists to experience the ancient and modern city. It indicates that during the Olympic period, tourism finance has attained 4 hundred million dollars (China Government Statistics, 2008). It greatly stimulates China's tourism and urges the tourist attractions to keep a high quality.


There are both tangible costs and some contrast situations behind the highly economic growth rate, or as called intangible costs. Firstly, the tangible cost mainly relies on such issues as substantial existing venues reconstruction and new ones construction (Feddersen, Maennig & Zimmermann, 2007). Secondly, newly increased jobs, for instance, are mostly both temporary and low-paid, which is hard for workers to afford their daily lives. When the Games come to an end, correspondingly unemployment still deteriorates the workers lives; even force them unable to make end meets. In addition, building these stadiums has occupied numerous farmlands. As an agriculture-based country, China has to balance the industry relationships during post-Olympic period.

3.2. Politics

On the one hand, once Olympic Games' holding city is settled, intangible potential positive impact is pervade in that city (Malfas, Theodoraki & Houlihan, 2004). This can strengthen and improve the host's reputation as a center for world class citizens, as well as, for future sporting events, conventions, and tourism. But the bid could in turn weaken the host nation in that it is completely unmasked to the whole world (Rosenblum, 2009). On the other hand, however, human right is always a sensitive topic for China, which generates numerous debates.

In the first place, bidding and holding the Games give rise to world status enhancement of China. The Human Development Index (HDI) provided by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) viewed as a proxy of the development of a country could be taken into account when measure the political influence of the Games (Feddersen, Maennig & Zimmermann, 2007). According to statistics provided by UNDP from 2000 to 2011, (http://hdrstats.undp.org/en/countries/profiles/CHN.html), HDI of China has increased approximately 17% though the ranking of whole countries rises and falls unsteadily that indicates a light impact of the Games have on China's HDI.

Secondly, the Games attracts international media attention to China, exposing China under spotlights of whole world. China's poor air quality, for instance, costs the government $19 billion in order to meet the Olympic standards, (Rosenblum, 2009) as well as its human rights abuses in Tibet by the Chinese government. There occurred a protests over these abuses during the beginning stages of the Games are marred the Torch Relay. Still, awareness of the risk of exposing these weaknesses, China chose to bid the Games. It appears to be that China generates scandals of human rights abuse; nevertheless, it could be misunderstanding of western media and possibly intentional slanders of certain groups to a certain extent. They intend to generate rumors which result to negative status of China on the world stage.

Thirdly, it may cause unexpected external crises. "The US terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 dramatically changed the context and added to the costs of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games."(Richard, 2002)

3.3. Environment.

Usually environment is divided into two parts, natural environment and social environment. In the first place, the public support the host. Also, it is endorsed by minority groups such as ethnic communities and welfare groups.

3.4. Sports achievement

Dragon boating race dates back about 2000 years ago and remains a traditional event held around China every year. There is evidence that Cuju, a sport similar to football, was played in China during the 2nd and 3rd centuries BC. From the Song Dynasty and similar qigong martial arts activities became popular in China.

The influx of modern sports appeared in China since the beginning of the 20th Century. The People's Republic of China has emphasized on sports and the government funds and trains young talented players into professional players, especially in the mid-20th century. Ping Pong is one of the biggest amateur recreational sports in China today, with an estimated 200 million players. Badminton is also well established and quite popular in China.

According to CCTV Sports Channel, the gold-medal women's volleyball game of the 2004 Olympics drew 30% of TV-owning households; China vs. Brazil in the 2002 World Cup drew 18% of TV-owning households. Football and basketball are also shown on TV. Both of above evidence show how enthusiastic Chinese people about sports.

From 1990, China has host many mega events, such as 1990 Beijing Asia Games…

4. Conclusion

In summary

Jacques Rogge, the President of International Olympic Committee (IOC), highly praised the Beijing Olympic Games as "truly exceptional Games" at the Games' closing ceremony staged in the National Stadium.