China to promote public fitness service system

A public fitness center under construction in Lianyungang, east China's Jiangsu Province, February 26, 2022. (Photo: CFP)

China plans to build 2,000 fitness facilities, including sports parks, by 2025, officials revealed Wednesday at a news conference in Beijing at which new official guidelines on "building a higher-level public service system for fitness and physical activity" were released.

Li Jianming, vice-minister of China's General Administration of Sport, said the country would complete 5,000 projects addressing weaknesses in sports and fitness facilities at the township level.

Besides that, fitness will be made more accessible, especially in the country's western regions, rural communities and areas in difficult financial conditions. School facilities and stadiums will open to the public for free or at a low cost, and athletes will be encouraged to get involved as instructors in school and community activities.

China is also setting up amateur city leagues in football, basketball and volleyball.

The guidelines emphasize the promotion of social sports organizations and community-level fitness and extending the benefits of competitive sports to everyone, according to Zhao Chenxin, secretary-general of the National Development and Reform Commission.

The document also highlights protecting the sports rights and interests of the elderly, people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups, Zhao said.

The authorities envisage that the per capita area of sports venues in China by 2025 will reach 2.6 square meters and 38.5 percent of the population will be taking part in regular exercise, the document said, adding that by 2035, the participation rate should exceed 45 percent.