China releases five-point masterplan to become sports super power

China has released a masterplan to become the modern leading sports socialist nation by 2050. Among the top three achievers in the Olympic Games for the past five editions since Sydney 2000, the nation has set an immediate goal to ensure that people who exercise regularly should by 2035 account for more than 45% population of the nation.

The State Council of China has issued a circular, outlining the masterplan to develop China into a leading sports power. The highly empowered chief administrative authority of the People’s Republic, the State Council of China is chaired by the Premier and includes the heads of each of the Cabinet-level executive departments.

The plan has set major tasks in five key aspects – national fitness, athletics, sports industry, sports culture and sports exchange.

The plan consists of time frames to achieve three key goals – the people who often exercise should account for over 45% of the nation’s population by 2035; China should become a modern leading sports socialist country by 2050, and its people’s physical fitness, comprehensive levels and global influence in sports should be ranked near the top globally.

The roadmap to achieve the goals includes effort to improve the public service system, make sports the role of the State Council’s joint ministerial conference on national fitness and build joint meeting mechanisms on national fitness at the local government level, states the State Council circular.

The other highlights of the programme include, coordinated work to build venues and facilities for national fitness, create city greenways, sports parks, community squares for entertainment and sports and places for football and winter sports. Empty rooms and underground spaces in cities should be utilized properly to reach that desired end, states the report.

People’s health should be put at the core of the campaign, with national fitness plans to be formulated and implemented and scientific fitness knowledge and methods to be disseminated.

Sports activities should be encouraged in key groups, including teenagers, the elderly, farmers and the disabled, and information technologies such as IoT and cloud computing should be applied to obtain a smart development of national fitness.

Athletics will also get a boost through allowing private organizations to enter the sports industry, promoting football, basketball and volleyball and supporting the development of vocational sports. Preparations were encouraged for the coming Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympic Games, the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

The circular also calls on efforts to build a modern sports industry system through building a complete sports industry chain, accelerating the integrated development of sports and its related industries, and promoting the coordinated development of regional sports industries.

The development, design and manufacturing of sports goods will be supported, and their supply capacity will be improved as well, the circular read, adding more mass sports activities should be organized and sports games should be held during holidays to stimulate people’s consumption.

The circular also requires greater effort to develop sports culture, increase sports exchanges with foreign countries, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, refine the mechanism of pouring public funds into the sports sector, and cultivate more sports talent.

The plan involves creating preferential policies and funding, upgrading facilities and organising mass fitness activities in three stages leading up to 2050.

Li Jianming, deputy director of the General Administration of Sport, says “The progress in popular big events such as soccer is the top concern of not just the general public but also the country’s top leadership, so to build the country into a sporting power we have to improve levels in these events.”

Football is a key tenet in the plan. China have only qualified for the World Cup once in 2002, and their ambition within the plan is to aim to make the Cup finals again in 2022, as well as host the World Cup in China as quickly as possible.

“To host the World Cup and one day become a winner stays in line with our ambition to build world-leading sporting prowess outlined in the plan,” adds Li.

With tensions still high in Hong Kong, the State Council is aiming to use sport diplomacy to strengthen bonds with the special administrative region, as well as Macau and Taiwan.

The plan included goals that would use sport to “build stronger diplomatic ties world-wide, as well as provide platforms to build on Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” framework.