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Softpower, Soccer, Supremacy

The Chinese Dream


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the global softpower projection of "the Middle Kingdom": an ancient Western imperial mantra ("bread and circuses") has been replaced by a modern Eastern "imperial" mantra ("rice and pitches").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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17 Will Xi Jinping’s China Soccer Dream Become Australia’s Football Nightmare? (Steve Georgakis and Andy Harper)


17 Will Xi Jinping’s China Soccer Dream Become Australia’s Football Nightmare?

Steve Georgakis and Andy Harper


This chapter is a story about proactivity and an absence of reactivity. China, the heaving mass of the world’s most populous country has, since it re-engaged the global community in 1978, displayed remarkable agility, discipline and adaptability to become the pre-eminent challenger to American’s hegemony and the leading consideration in what has been dubbed as the Asian Century.1 In seeking to determine and control its future, China has embarked on a strategic path to promote its interests, engage its neighbours and establish credibility. This includes, but is not limited, to sport.2 The key plank of China’s sport diplomacy has targeted the Olympic Games and football as the arenas in which they would look to make the biggest impact. Football’s global appeal and reach has particularly attracted the attention of China’s ruling communist party who are unfolding a bold plan to become a major player in the world’s most popular sport; vis-à-vis Chinese proactivity and its adoption of softpower influences.

Meanwhile Australia, as a regional colleague, is ambivalently watching China undertake this journey. Its observational platform is not a distantly located one but rather, as a co-confederate member of Asian football, is one which provides high definition and close-up images via regular, formal, meaningful and competitive football contact with China, for both the men’s and the women’s games, in both international and club...

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