Following Sayaka's excellent example, I've just added a section, Significance of the 1988 Olympics in South Korea, to the entry on the 1988 Summer Olympics in Wikipedia. I am still tweaking it, so feel free to provide any suggestions, revise directly on Wikipedia or, as Wikipedia warns, "edit mercilessly."
Related to the topic of the Olympics acting as a catalyst for change in Asia, Amnesty International reported that China is using the 2008 Olympics as a catalyst for suppressing dissent in the name of stability. Moreover, the report contends that China is failing to live up to the promise to improve their record on human rights in anticipation of the Games.
The similarities to the 1988 Olympics in Seoul are quite apparent. In both cases, there is/was increased international scrutiny on the issue of political freedom. In the case of China in 2008, Amnesty International, an external international advocacy group, is pressuring for change; in Korea in 1988, this pressure was primarily coming from a fear of any negative press of military suppression or riots in the domestic democracy movement in June 1987.
The article quotes Catherine Baber, Amnesty's deputy Asia-Pacific director as saying, "The IOC cannot want an Olympics that is tainted with human rights abuses - whether families forcibly evicted from their homes to make way for sports arenas or growing numbers of peaceful activists held under house arrest." Likewise, articles on the impact of the 1988 Seoul Olympics in Korea employ similar language, that Korea and the IOC did not want the 1988 Games "tainted" with military dictatorship and riots.
It will be interesting to observe the role of the the Olympics in China's development over the course of the next year to see if a trend of the Olympics instigating political and social change in Asia emerges.