Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Time for sports to lead social change

By Li Yang (China Daily) Updated: 2014-10-23 07:38

In China, only competitive events are under the direct jurisdiction of sports authorities while the mass fitness program is subject to sports as well as education authorities. And given the nature of the college entrance examination system - in which sports has little room - the importance of sports remains low in the education system.

Considering the central government's unhappiness with this situation, the latest State Council guideline vows to advance the cause and industry of sports to boost the physical health of Chinese people. According to the central government's unveiled industrial development plan, the country will undergo some deep economic and social structural adjustments in which the cultural and sports industries are put in important positions. The sports industry now accounts for only 0.55 percent of China's GDP, a fraction of the 11 percent in the United States. But a low revenue proportion also means greater room for development. Perhaps that's why the government expects the sports industry to have an output of 5 trillion yuan ($816 billion) in its long-term development plan.

The cultivation and improvement of the sports industry will not only benefit from mounting public enthusiasm and participation, but also from an effective model for the sports industry.

Only by elevating the mass fitness movement to a national strategic plan and integrating various non-governmental sports resources can China ensure that the public sports movement turns into a consumption movement for sports products and thus take the second leap in the world of sports that will improve overall public health.

It is time for sports, once a budding flower of Chinese social life, to blossom into a mature fruit.

The author is managing editor-in-chief of New Sports magazine.

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