Since the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949, popular sports have been widely developed, and the organizational system of popular sports has gradually come into its own. In August 1995, the Standing Committee of the NPC adopted the Physical Culture Law of the People’s Republic of China, by relevant authorities to be followed by a series of rules and regulations promulgated, enshrining, in legal form, the need for citizens to enhance health through sports.
Radio aerobics are vastly popular all over China, and local governments have set relevant standards for different groups (adults, youngsters and children). Ball games and other forms of sports are becoming more and more popular, and regular workers’ sports meetings have become an unwritten tradition at most state organs and institutions.
In recent years, some new sports events, such as rock-climbing, horse riding in the countryside, bungee jumping, bowling, skateboarding, woman’s boxing, taekwondo Korean boxing, and golf have been acquiring an enthusiastic following, especially among young urban people. The stadiums and gymnasiums in the cities are crowded with people nowadays, and more swimming pools, health clubs and skating rinks are springing up day after day. There are queues outside most table tennis and tennis courts. According to statistics from large and medium-sized cities, the number of people taking part in sports increases by 2 percent annually.
By the end of 2000, there were 30 national mass sports associations and over 40,000 grassroots workers’ sports associations, in addition to 3,854 urban community organizations, more than 2,000 community sports instruction stations and over 100,000 part-time sports instructors. Since the 1990s, large numbers of sports centers have been constructed or reconstructed. There are now over 620,000 stadiums and gymnasiums in the country with a total area of 800 million sq m, which comes to 0.65 sq m per person. Besides, income from sports lotteries has been used for the construction of 1,077 public health-building projects in the past two years. All the public sports facilities are open to the general public.
The “Survey of National Physique” conducted jointly by 11 government departments, including the State Physical Culture Administration, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and State Planning Commission, which had taken three years and covered 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, was completed in October 2001. It was of the largest scale and covered the largest population since the founding of the PRC. After the survey, the 11 departments jointly promulgated Regulations on Survey of National Physique, requiring that such a survey should be conducted every five years in future. At present, relevant authorities are preparing methods of health building for the masses in accordance with the results of the survey, setting new ways and standards of health building for different age groups, and strengthening health building instruction in communities.