One country, two systems, three flags: Imagining Olympic nationalism in Hong Kong and Macao

Glos HO*, Alan Bairner

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    24 Citations (Scopus)


    In 2008, the Olympic Games were held in Beijing, capital city of the People's Republic of China (PRC). As Special Administrative Regions (SARs) of China, Hong Kong and Macao, despite existing as separate sporting entities under the principle of 'One Country, Two Systems', were surprisingly enthused with what Chinese people called an Olympic nationalism. Using a cognitive-affective-conative attitude framework, this paper examines how secondary school students (n=1391) in the two SARs constructed 'imagined communities' through their attitudes toward the Beijing Olympics. The average mean scores and Cohen's Effect Size (d) were calculated between the two groups of students to reveal similarities and differences. The study concludes that, regardless of three different flags under one country, Hong Kong and Macao shared the Olympic spirit and nationalist sentiment with the rest of the Chinese in the motherland. Internal competition within the Chinese community did not necessarily exacerbate division and, indeed, resisted transcending the two systems in a one nation approach. On the contrary, the profound Chinese culture displayed throughout the Games and an appreciation of international solidarity united students in the two regions and provided a watershed in their understanding of their Chinese identity.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)349-365
    Number of pages17
    JournalInternational Review for the Sociology of Sport
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
    • Sociology and Political Science

    User-Defined Keywords

    • affection
    • Beijing Olympics
    • cognition
    • conation
    • Hong Kong
    • Macao
    • nationalism


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