Senior official calls on the setup of China-ASEAN health cooperation mechanism

By CAI HONG in Ningbo, Zhejiang |
Updated: Nov 17, 2023

China and ASEAN members should make joint efforts to build up an international platform and mechanism for exchanges in physical fitness and health areas, a senior official said on Friday.

Ding Dong, director general of Sport for All Department of the General Administration of Sport of China, said that fostering regional cooperation and exchanging successful experiences is a crucial step toward building a community with a shared future of health and wellness for mankind.

Ding made the remarks in a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the 1st China-ASEAN International Conference on Physical Fitness and Health Promotion, which was held in Ningbo, Zhejiang province.

The ASEAN members have independently launched physical fitness and health promotion initiatives within their respective countries, and they could cooperate with China in promoting exchanges in such areas, he said.

The conference is a breakthrough after the consensus to establish a sports cooperation mechanism at the first ASEAN plus China Ministerial Meeting on Sports on Sept 1 this year, Ding said.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the China-ASEAN strategic partnership and the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The conference is a practical step of BRI cooperation for jointly launching cooperation between China and ASEAN in the field of physical fitness and health, Ding said.

About 200 participants, including officials, experts from China and ten Southeast Asian countries, and representatives from the ASEAN-China Center and World Health Organization (WHO), attended the conference.

Officials from China and ASEAN countries delivered keynote reports and shared their countries' practices and experiences in promoting national physical fitness and health.

Over the past years, China has put forward a number of policies to provide better services for the public to enjoy better physical fitness facilities, he said.

The deep integration of national fitness and national health is an important symbol of building a healthy China and a strong sports country, he added.

Ding attributed China's achievements to the implementation of the central task of promoting health through sports. China has beefed up top-level planning to ensure that relevant policies can be made and implemented at different levels of government departments.

China has further coordinated departments such as sports, health, education, civil affairs, culture and tourism, and technology to form a strong joint force that guides all levels and sectors to seek proactive health and promote the forward movement of health ports, he said.

Government departments at all levels can carry out joint efforts from a policy perspective, and incorporate the deep integration of national fitness and health into the overall planning, agenda, financial budget, assessment and evaluation of the government performance, he added.

Implementing the integration of physical education and health requires the collective efforts of sports and health departments, he noted.

Ding stressed the urgency of cultivating a large number of high-quality talents with both sports and exercise knowledge and skills, as well as medical background and literacy, who could play an important role in taking care of the elderly, those with chronic diseases, and those with disabilities.

Ding proposed government departments of all levels to establish and improve big data platforms to provide better services to people in physical fitness and health areas.

Continuous efforts should be made to raise public awareness of physical fitness, he said, adding that such measures as developing fitness books, fitness guides, short videos, and other popular science works could be taken.

Noting that China and ASEAN countries are friendly neighbors, Ding said strengthening friendly exchanges and cooperation between China and ASEAN countries in the field of national fitness is the common vision of both sides.

He called on the ASEAN members to take the international academic conference as an opportunity to establish a good cooperation mechanism between China and ASEAN countries.

"We will prioritize sports cooperation between China and ASEAN, and carry out practical cooperation in strengthening talent exchange and promoting scientific research in sports," Ding said.

Ding noted that continuing regional cooperation and learning from the excellent practices of deep integration of national fitness and health in various countries is an important measure to build a community with a shared future of health and wellness for mankind.

The Sport for All Department of the General Administration of Sport of China is willing to make further efforts to contribute Chinese wisdom to building a community with a shared future for China-ASEAN, Ding said.

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