China Chooses ‘Mega-Events’ Over Structural Reforms

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BEIJING — The 16th Asian Games, now underway in Guangzhou, China, are the latest in a long line of massive, intensively promoted “mega-events” organized by the Chinese state to showcase national development and achievement. These mega-events have few proven grassroots benefits, however, and are no replacement for the substantive, fundamental reforms the Chinese government itself admits are necessary to modernize the country. Moreover, this obsession with mega-events may be damaging to long-term development, and ultimately risks widening the gulf between the experiences of ordinary Chinese and the flag-waving, mixed-market utopia portrayed in state propaganda. Since May 2008, eight distinct events […]

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