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Ten-year development of China's National Fitness Undertaking

2005-07-14 14:07:00 COC Website
    Following are excerpts of a speech made by Zhang Faqiang, Deputy Director of the General Administration of Sport, at the press conference held in Beijing on July 14, 2005 commemorating the 10th anniversary of the promulgation of An Outline of the National Fitness Programme:

    Ten years ago, the Government of China promulgated An Outline of the National Fitness Programme, which turned out to be a milestone in the history of mass sports in China. It was also 10 years ago when the Chinese government promulgated the Law of the People's Republic of China on Physical Culture and Sports, which brought mass sports and national fitness building into line with the law of the state, thereby further consolidating and upgrading the legal status of the national fitness undertaking. In the past 10 years, the national fitness undertaking has made a greater achievement. These include:

    1. The national fitness drive has attracted extensive attention and received an enthusiastic response from the whole society.

    At present, sport for all organizations headed by local government leaders have been set up in different provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities across the country, including those under sports associations of different trades. Statistics show that such organizations at the regional or city level account for 98% or more of the total number of regions or cities, while those at the county level account for 95% or more, and similar coordination organizations at the neighbourhood level have also been set up in many residential districts, towns and townships. Local Party committees and governments at different levels, regarding fitness for all as an important task of promoting spiritual civilization, have brought it into line with their ninth or tenth Five-Year Plan or listed it as one of the concrete affairs to be handled for the masses of people, thus strengthening the leadership and overall planning of these governments in the national fitness building.

    2. People have obviously become more conscious of fitness building, and the number of people engaged in regular physical training is on the constant increase. Sports and fitness exercises are all the rage and many seek to have such a healthy lifestyle.

    Statistics show that today in China the number of people engaged in regular physical training (aged 7-70) accounts for 33.93% of the total population, which has reached the high level of those adequately developing countries. In some moderately developed areas, people take part in physical exercises as a voluntary part of their daily routine. Men and women, old and young, invariably follow the trend by throwing themselves into sports and fitness-building activities on a regular basis.

    3. Mass sports organizations scattered all over cities and countryside have become a major force for organizing fitness-building activities and guiding people to training in a scientific way.

    With the deepening of reforms in the sports system and the constant increase of the level of sports socialization, the structure of mass sports organizations at national, provincial, city (prefecture), district (county) and neighbourhood (town and township) levels has been formed to basically cover the vast areas in the country. A latest survey reveals that by the end of 2004 there were over 200,000 sports instruction stations in cities, towns and townships, and a large, socialized network of mass sports organizations had been gradually established, with social sports groups as lines dotted by numerous instruction stations at the grass-roots level.
    Social sports instructors are a vital new force on the mass sports front, and a force to be reckoned with for carrying out the National Fitness Programme. By the end of 2004, there were over 430,000 social sports instructors of all types and grades in China, who formed active mass sports working contingents led by sports administrators and supported by members of social sports groups and persons in charge in local town and neighbourhood sports organizations.

    4. Sports venues, training grounds and facilities for fitness-building activities have developed rapidly, with a decided increase of funds put in it.

    As stipulated by the state, part of the public welfare fund from the sports lottery sales is to be used in the nation's sports undertaking, and 60% of this part should be used for the national fitness undertaking. By the end of 2004, the General Administration of Sport had used the proceeds from the sports lottery to build, in both urban and rural areas, 5,627 National Fitness Programme projects, which are equipped with 23,319 fitness paths, 5,920 table tennis tables, 13,790 basketball stands and 2,820 sets of physique testing equipment. In remote and backward areas, a total of 141 aiding projects had been carried out, including the construction of 59 demonstration fitness centres and 2,134 sports clubs for the young and children. While making up for the deficiency of sports grounds, these facilities bring convenience to the local people in their daily sports and fitness-building activities.

    5. Mass sports and fitness-building activities are varied and colourful in form and many more scientific and practical training methods have been created.

    Since 1995 the General Administration of Sport has, for 11 years in a row, launched the annual National Fitness Week in the week of June 10. Starting from 2001, demonstration fitness-building activities targeting on five groups of people, namely teenagers, women, farmers, workers and elderly people, have been organized all over the country. To meet the needs of the different groups of people, sports administrations have, purposely and in a planned way, sorted out and recommended scientific methods of fitness building and invited experts to create new ones for people to follow. Large numbers of effective, easy-to-learn training methods represented by the setting-up exercises to radio music have greatly livened up people's cultural and recreational life and enjoyed tremendous popularity among people of all walks of life.

    6. The strengthening of the legal system building in mass sports helps put the mass sports work on the right track under relevant laws and regulations.

    In the past 10 years, to ensure effective mass sports management and supervision and proper implementation of the National Fitness Programme, the municipal governments and sports administrative departments have drawn up and published a great many of local rules and regulations and relevant documents for normal practice. So far a comprehensive National Fitness Regulations has been listed in the state's legislative plan.

    7. The competition and incentive system of mass sports is being perfected.

To give commendation to basic-level sports workers for their enthusiasm for the promotion of mass sports and national fitness drive, a competition and incentive system for different administrative levels has been gradually established after 10 years' development. During 1995 and 2005, the General Administration of Sport (formerly the State Physical Culture and Sports Commission) has named a total of 306 national advanced sports counties and 709 national advanced sports urban communities, cited outstanding provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) on 94 occasions and outstanding units on 2,648 occasions for their excellent work during the National Fitness Week, and commended 2,994 national advanced mass sports units and 2,988 advanced individuals. Moreover, jointly with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Chinese Sports Association for Peasants, the General Administration of Sport has cited 1,617 advanced sports towns and townships in recognition of their contributions to the Millions of Farmers Go for Fitness Building campaign, and jointly with the State Ethnic Affairs Commission commended 111 ethnic sports model collectives and 70 model individuals.

    8. Achievements in scientific mass sports research keep emerging in large numbers, helping people with their physical training in a more scientific way.

    In 1997, based on the National Physical Fitness Standards for Adults set by the former State Physical Culture and Sports Commission, an extensive testing of physique and health conditions for adults was carried out in 19 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities. In 2000, a nationwide survey of people's physique was made for the first time in history. This year, the second national survey is being made across the country. At present, the national physique survey held every five years has become systematized. In the meantime, we have revised and compiled the Physical Fitness Standards for Students, Physical Training Standards for the General Public and National Standards for Physical Fitness Testing.

    9. New breakthroughs have been made in school sports targeting on students and young people's health conditions are constantly improved.

    The state takes building up young people's health as a focal point of mass sports work and conducts regular surveys of their physique for further researches. To make sure all the students have good health, it has specially promulgated the National Standards for Physical Training and School Sports Work Regulations to urge the students to get involved in regular sports activities systematically and legally. Statistics gathered in the last 20 years show that the number of students who are up to the standards for physical training has reached one billion person-time. It is also stipulated that the National Games for Middle School Students are to be held every three years, and the National University Games are held every four years, so as to raise the athletic level of school sports. To meet the needs of the social development, the government, by making full use of the existing stadiums and gyms as well as sports talent and other social resources, has since 2000 created 2,134 sports clubs for teenagers with the proceeds of 500 million yuan from the public welfare fund of the sports lottery. Since then these clubs have served as an after-school network of sports activities for teenage students.

    10. The National Fitness Programme has helped renew people's perceptions of consumption, which in turn triggers the flourishing of the nation's sports industry.

    When sports and fitness-building activities are carried out in a deep-going way, people who have become more sports-conscious are often willing to spend more on sporting pursuits, which in turn helps give an impetus to the booming of the sports industry including the production and sales of sports wear and equipment, venue services and sports training. According to statistics published in 2002 after the second national survey of the present status of China's mass sports, of all those who took part in sports activities in 2000, 8.8% spent their time and money in operating stadiums, gyms or fitness centres, a 0.2% increase over that in 1996, and the yearly expenditure of urban and rural residents on sports, taken by the household, averaged at 397.42 yuan in 2000. It is estimated that the value added to China's sports industry in the year 2010 will reach at least 28.12 billion yuan.

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