World / China-US

Nations brought closer by universal language of sports

By Sun Xiaochen (China Daily) Updated: 2014-07-10 03:01

Sports exchanges have been boosting Sino-US cultural ties with a growing number of events, both elite and grassroots, in recent years, officials and experts said.

From the groundbreaking ping-pong diplomacy of the 1970s to the NBA Global Games China held last year, sports exchanges between China and the United States have enhanced mutual ties on a field that features not political conversations but the universal language of sport.

"Sport, as a unique bridge and bond, has brought the peoples of the two countries closer for more than 40 years," said Yang Shu'an, vice-minister of sport, during the first China-US Sport Seminar at Beijing Sport University on Wednesday.

Sheila Casey, deputy director of the Office of Citizen Exchanges at the US Department of State, echoed Yang.

"One very wonderful thing about sport is that you do not need English to participate, and it's nonpolitical. By using sports, we are able to show how the Americans love sports and how that is shared by people around the word," she said.

The seminar is the latest initiative of the fifth China-US Consultation on People-to-People Exchange, which was established in 2009 to strengthen Sino-US cooperation in culture, education and sports.

Inspired by the vast market potential in China, major US leagues and universities have introduced various events, including 12 NBA preseason games, to the mainland since 2004.

China is also trying hard to expand its cultural influence by sending sports delegations to perform in the US. A highlight was the recent visit of 11 national- and world-champion Chinese martial arts athletes to Washington and New York, where they demonstrated wushu styles and shared their experiences with local practitioners.


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