SCIO press conference on progress of green Olympics and sustainability for Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games

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Asahi Shimbun:

After China won the bid to hold the Games, the number of people engaged in skiing began to rise, as did the number of ski resorts. To ensure the effective use of ski resorts, it is necessary to maintain the number of skiers. So after the Winter Paralympics, how will China continue to promote skiing? Thank you. 

Li Sen:

Thank you for your question. Promoting winter sports in China was one of the major goals for bidding and hosting the Winter Olympics and Winter Paralympics. Using the Games as a point of departure, China's winter sports have been growing rapidly in recent years. I'm not sure whether you have seen the latest statistics released by the General Administration of Sport of China, which show that 346 million people now participate in winter sports. By the end of 2020, China had built 654 standard ice rinks and 803 ski resorts of various kinds, both indoors and outdoors. The goal of "getting 300 million people involved in winter sports" has become a reality. Promoting winter sports is a long-term activity, not a short-term one. China has a huge population. Based on the population and development needs, the number of venues for winter sports is not that large. After the Games, such efforts will be strengthened and not be stopped. There will be ever greater achievements. Our most significant efforts are as follows:

First, policy guarantee. After we won the bid to host the Games, and since we started preparations for the Games, the policy environment for developing winter sports at the national and local level has been improving. There are a series of policies and measures. You may know that, at the national level, we released documents like the "Opinions on Vigorously Developing Winter Sports" and the "Opinions on Carrying out Healthy China Initiative," in which we outlined specific policies. At the local level, there are also some specific policies that a total of 26 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities have now implemented. Take Beijing for example. The city released guidelines on promoting winter sports and seven supporting documents in terms of venue construction and popularization. Such policies will not come to an end after the Games. They are long-term policies and will be sustained well into the future. 

Second, cultivating young people. Young people are always the foundation and future of winter sports. Since we began preparations for the Games, with the joint efforts of education and sports authorities, we carried out activities that encourage millions of young people to participate in winter sports as well as the plan for winter sports on campus, which brings winter sports directly onto school campuses. This work is fundamental, as it integrates knowledge about winter sports into physical education curriculums. We formulated and implemented teaching plans for winter sports. Such measures will continue to be implemented at primary and middle schools. By 2020, we had 2,062 schools featuring winter sports and that number will reach 5,000 by 2025.

Third, venue and facility construction. Over the years, we have seen great progress in developing facilities across the country. After the Games, we will continue to promote the construction of venues and facilities, while also encouraging temporary facilities for winter sports in parks and urban squares, in line with local conditions. And we will also upgrade facilities and venues for winter sports, particularly the ski resorts that you have mentioned. We will improve the quality and service to meet people's varied needs for winter sports.

Fourth, winter sports activities. You may know that China has carried out a lot of winter sports activities in recent years, such as the National Public Ice and Snow Season and National Public Happy Ice and Snow Week. Many provinces and cities also have their own brand activities for winter sports, such as Beijing's "Happy Ice and Snow Season" and Zhangjiakou's public winter sports festivals. All these activities have become brand events for winter sports. These activities will not only continue after the Games but get even better.

Fifth, professional talent training. To meet the general public's needs for winter sports, local sports authorities are stepping up training for social sports instructors, or coaches for winter sports at the grassroots level. Beijing now has 23,000 instructors, while Zhangjiakou has more than 20,000. They have played an important part in promoting winter sports. After the Games, the number of such instructors will continue to grow, and they will provide more guidance in promoting winter sports.

All these measures will continue to promote the development of China's winter sports and meet the general public's needs for winter sports. Thank you.

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