China to further boost sports, fitness and online education

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(Photo: Xinhua)

BEIJING, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- China will further promote fitness and sports consumption, and facilitate the sound development of online education as part of effort to raise living standards, the State Council's executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang decided on Wednesday.

The Chinese government puts great emphasis on enhancing sports and fitness and bolstering the sports industry. Premier Li Keqiang underlined the importance to meet the consumer demand that is fast upgrading, and support private actors in supplying more non-essential public services in sports and other fields to better meet the people's growing, diverse needs.

"Fitness and sports consumption, as well as online education are important means to expand domestic demand, catalyze economic transformation and improve people's living standards. There is tremendous potential in these areas. We must do more to fully unlock the potential," Li said.

It was decided at the Wednesday meeting that more public sports facilities will be open for effective public use to meet people's fitness demand. Diversified fitness training and related services will be actively developed targeting different age groups, and the development of fitness products will be encouraged, to shape a habit of fitness activities among a larger population and improve public health.

Market potential will be unlocked when developing the sports industry. More private actors will be facilitated to hold sporting events. All sporting events that meet the required conditions currently hosted by the national sports associations will be handed over to market actors. Inter-school sport competitions for teenagers will be encouraged. More supply of sports venues and facilities will be provided.

Private actors will be supported in investing in the construction of sports facilities and their lawful rights and interests will be protected. The operation of government-invested, newly constructed sports venues shall be entrusted to third-parties.

"Fitness and sports consumption is a new growth area that comes to the fore as the economy develops to a certain stage. China is still much behind developed countries in this regard, yet our people's wish and demand for such consumption have been steadily increasing. Fitness and sports consumption should also be advanced in tandem with enhancing the fitness of the people," Li said.

The meeting also discussed measures to promote the sound development of online education. With the remarkable advances of modern information technology in recent years, online education has seen fast expansion. The market for online education and training was valued at some 250 billion yuan (about 35 billion U.S. dollars) in 2018.

It was decided at the meeting that Internet Plus Education will be promoted, and various types of eligible market actors will be encouraged to develop online education. New, open and inclusive platforms will be established for vocational training and skills upgrading.

Dedicated networks for education will be built at a faster pace, and by 2022, all schools will be connected to fast and stable internet services. Development of diversified online educational resources targeting areas under extreme poverty will be supported. Meanwhile, regulation and oversight will be strengthened to effectively protect the rights and interest of consumers.

"There is now a high need for online education and training. We must build dedicated networks with higher speed for education and facilitate the sharing of quality educational resources to promote equity in education," Li said.