As one of the most significant world-level mega-events in the contemporary period, Olympic Games have their own charm that drives many countries to bid to host them. China is one of these countries. When China won the right to host the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in 2001, it was described as ‘a hundred-year dream come true’.
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With China’s hosting of Winter Olympic Games imminent, it is inevitable that a global spotlight will be shined on the country, highlighting all kinds of problems and concerns about it. Regardless of whether government in Beijing accepts this or not, such scrutiny is an established feature of the sport mega-event landscape.
The Olympic Games held during the initial decades of the 21st century, especially the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, raised human rights issues that had rarely, if ever, been raised with respect to the Olympics.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been tightening its grip for over a decade, but the last few months have felt like a white-knuckle ride. CCP disciplinarians have expanded their watch to non-state actors and grassroots bureaucracies. Social controls have homed in on predictable targets, like journalists and lawyers, as well as new ones, like influencers and entertainers.
In November 2020, the Chinese fintech world was shocked when the initial public offering (IPO) of Ant Financial was cancelled. This IPO, which was slated to be the biggest ever, fell afoul of new rules on online lending which would have a considerable impact on Ant’s profit model. This regulatory move turned out to be the first visible step in what since has turned out to be a wholesale restructuring of the regulatory environment for large online platforms.
“The arts must serve the people and serve socialism” said Xi Jinping, during a symposium of prominent artists held in Beijing. It was 2014, and the world was just getting the first glimpses of the profound overhaul that the new secretary general of the Chinese Communist Party was aiming to achieve. Fast forward 7 years, China is in the process of redrawing its own entertainment sector and reshaping the connection between culture and the people.
The 2013 film American Dreams in China (中国合伙人), depicts a romantic and stylized version of the founding of New Oriental (新东方), once the leading private education provider in China.
International conflicts and crises are extremely complex phenomena and – at least from the “outside” – they should be analysed in the least biased way possible. This is not always easy to achieve, in part because Western media and expert debates often fail to include local voices, different sensitivities and less mainstream views. The Ukraine crisis is no exception. Some crucial points are taken for granted in the Western discourse, but they are still contested realities and should be framed carefully. Should NATO welcome Ukraine’s membership?
Egypt’s situation in terms of sustainability is far from excellent. The ecological footprint per capita is already 4.5 times higher than the country's biocapacity. Furthermore, Egypt is highly vulnerable to the threat of climate change on multiple fronts, including rising sea levels, heat waves, and water scarcity. Increasing the pace of decarbonization and energy diversification with low-carbon resources is an urgent priority for the country to achieve a more sustainable future.
Scarcely two years after protesters redefined the political landscape in Kyrgyzstan, the country’s giant northern neighbour – Kazakhstan – has witnessed a series of uprisings that started in the Western city of Zhanaozen and soon spread to other Southern cities and, most importantly, the former capital of Almaty.