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Softpower, Soccer, Supremacy

The Chinese Dream

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Edited By J.A. Mangan, Peter Horton and Christian Tagsold

Xi Jinping’s "Soccer Revolution" is unique: the most extensive politicization and geo-politicization of the Global Game. His purpose is to extend the global softpower projection of "the Middle Kingdom": an ancient Western imperial mantra ("bread and circuses") has been replaced by a modern Eastern "imperial" mantra ("rice and pitches"). The Asian Football Federation shares this "allopathic" vision of East Asian soccer: the future is Asia and it starts in China! Soccer is a talisman for a New Asia in a New Era. For China soccer is a hubristic instrument of softpower projection. Softpower, Soccer, Supremacy: The Chinese Dream makes this point forcefully. In East Asia soccer in now "much more than a game"!

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7 Crossing the Penalty Area? The Dynamics of Chinese/Taiwanese Football (Tzu-hsuan Chen and Alan Bairner)

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7 Crossing the Penalty Area? The Dynamics of Chinese/Taiwanese Football

Tzu-hsuan Chen and Alan Bairner

Introduction

The Chinese Civil War split the Chinese into two politically conflicted countries from 1949. Both claimed to be the legitimate representative of China in the international community. However, following decades of struggle, the People’s Republic of China (PRC hereafter) has become not only the undisputed sole representative of China and but also a seemingly unstoppable global superpower. Across Taiwan Strait, 23 million people dwell on the island of Taiwan which continues to bear the fading name of the Republic of China, even though it has official diplomatic relationships with only 18 countries in the world. Yet, the PRC has still sought to accelerate its efforts to annihilate Taiwan/ROC from international spheres on numerous occasions.

Sport, like many other aspects of these two political entities, provides a lens through which to observe the different stages of cross-strait relations. It also highlights the differences between the two sides. While table tennis is regarded as the national game for the PRC, baseball reigns supreme in Taiwan. However, football, the world’s most popular sport, has been a constant reminder, embodied in different ways, of both countries’ lack of ability when competing with the major football playing countries of the world. With China’s rapid rise in the global stage, President Xi Jinping’s emphasis on the development of football and the growing influence of the Chinese Super League, ironically, further...

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