© 2015 Taylor & Francis. The significance of sport, especially mega sport events, has been widely acknowledged as contributing to the development of nationalism and national identity.1 The use of the National Games by the nationalist government to promote Chinese nationalism and manage national identity in the Republic of China from 1910 to 1948 is examined in this paper. It begins with an interpretation of how Western sport was introduced to China, how China achieved its sovereignty of sport and how sport aided national salvation and nation-building. It examines the birth and the development of Chinese National Games, and the interplays of National Games and nationalism in the context of political and economic perspectives. It concludes that the promotion of National Games met the demands of China's national salvation and the principles of Chinese nationalism such as sovereignty, territorial integrity and patriotic sentiments. The National Games in the Republican China era played a role that was more than that of a sport event but one of shaping Chinese independent nationhood and national identity.