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China embraces sports boom in its middle class

sports boom

"Running is the new religion of the Chinese middle class." That's the view of Catherine Sun, intellectual property lawyer, mother of five and devotee of the notion that China has finally moved beyond the days when its national sport was, well, shopping.

跑步是中国中产阶级的新信仰,"这是孙女士的观点。她是一名知识产权方面的律师,5个孩子的母亲。她相信,中国终于跨越了全民运动就是……呃……购物的时代了。

"For 30 years people have really been motivated by greed and money, they haven't looked at how to live a more meaningful life," says Ms Sun, the first female Chinese runner to complete seven marathons on seven continents. "But in the past three to four years, running has become a religion for the Chinese middle class. Once you are economically independent, you think more spiritually, and in China there's not much religion." Pounding the pavements, she concludes, "has allowed the middle class to find something meaningful in their empty lives".

"过去三十年,人们一直被贪欲和金钱所驱使,他们不关注如何过得更有意义,"。她是首位完成7大洲马拉松的中国女性跑者。"但是最近三四年,跑步已经成为中国中产阶级的信仰了。一旦你经济独立,你会更多地思考精神层面的事,而中国没有太多信仰。"她总结道,跑步"让中产阶级在空虚生活中找到有意义的事"。

Scarcely a decade ago, Chinese marathon organisers struggled to fill their starting blocks. Now, in the big cities, runners have to win a lottery to enter: 100,000 people applied for full or half marathons in Shanghai last year but only 23,000 were allowed to run. But Ms Sun wants to proselytise further afield: she aims to organise 100 marathons in small and medium-sized cities. Her goal is to get 1m mainlanders moving.

就在10年前,中国的马拉松组织者还难以找到足够参赛者。现如今,在大城市须抽签才能参赛。去年有10万人申请参加全程或半程上海马拉松,最终只有2.3万人能参加。但是,孙女士希望进一步传递跑族的信仰:她想在中国中小城市组织100场马拉松比赛。她的目标是让100万人跑起来。

Yet decades of enforced workouts have not killed off enthusiasm for public exercise. Running has become the choice of "sports enthusiasts", according to a survey by Nielsen, with about 70 per cent saying they prefer it even to badminton, the old staple in mainland cities. Eighty per cent of those asked had bought sports shoes in the past year and 30 per cent took out a gym membership. Sixty per cent had downloaded a fitness app to their smartphones.

数十年的强迫运动并没扼杀中国人对大众运动的热情。如今跑步成了很多体育爱好者的选择。尼尔森公司的调查显示,70%的受访者表示,与羽毛球这类运动相比,他们更喜欢跑步。80%的人说过去1年中买了运动鞋,30%的人办了健身卡,60%的受访者在手机中下载了健身APP。

So that's how Ms Sun and 800 — a combination of her friends, colleagues and former classmates, and their friends, colleagues and former classmates — ended up running a 50km relay race on Mao Zedong's 122nd birthday, December 26, in the city of Changsha — the capital of Hunan province, central China, where the chairman was born.

所以,孙女士和其他800人——其中包括她的朋友、同事、同学、以及他们的朋友、同事和同学——于2015年12月26日毛泽东诞辰122周年那天,在中国中部的湖南省省会长沙市完成了50公里的接力。这位前中国共产党中央委员会主席就出生在湖南。

  

"The sports boom is just beginning in China," says Lynne Zhang of Nielsen in China. She says seven to eight times as many runners compete in US marathons as in Chinese races, though there are about 1bn more people in China than in America. 

"中国的运动热潮才刚刚开始,"尼尔森中国的Lynne Zhang称。她表示,在美国竞跑马拉松的人数是中国的七八倍,尽管中国比美国多出约10亿人口。

But China also has far more smog, which could hamper the mainland's devotion to running. At Mao's birthday marathon in Changsha, for example, air pollution was so bad that Ms Sun's sons, aged 15 and 17, dropped out of the race with pollution-induced illnesses.  

报道称,但是,中国的雾霾也远远比美国严重,这可能阻碍内地人跑步的热情。例如,在毛泽东诞辰纪念日的长沙马拉松,空气污染非常严重,使孙女士的两个儿子(分别为15岁和17岁)因污染导致生病而退出了比赛。

Nevertheless, even on the murkiest days, China's public spaces are filled with people engaged in some form of exercise. Middle-aged and elderly women have taken in recent years to public dancing in ever larger numbers — and with ever louder boom boxes blasting out dance tunes from early morning to late at night, to the consternation of residents who regularly complain about loss of sleep. Sales of dance-related products on Taobao, the online marketplace, are rising rapidly among consumers in their fifties and sixties.

尽管如此,即使是在雾霾最严重的日子,中国的公共广场上也聚满了以某种形式锻炼的人们。近年来,越来越多的中老年妇女加入了广场舞的队伍——从清晨到深夜,音响中爆发出的广场舞音乐声越来越大,成为了附近居民的梦魇,后者常常抱怨因噪音而失眠。五六十岁的消费者在淘宝购买的与广场舞相关的产品数量正在迅速增加。

But there is one form of athletic activity that appears to be on the wane: procreation. The problem is so serious that it's drawing the attention of local authorities across the country. The government of Shanghai announced in December that it is offering extra holiday to female workers who have two babies or even one — part of an official drive to boost the birth rate and counter a demographic crisis arising from an ageing population. 

报道称,但是,有一种运动形式似乎正在逐渐没落:繁衍后代。该问题之严重,已引起了中国各地方政府的注意。去年12月,上海市政府宣布,将向生育"二孩"、甚至"一孩"的女性劳动者提供额外的产假——此举是政府为提高生育率、应对老龄化带来的人口危机的举措的一部分。

I'll put my money on the marathon runners any day. The growth rate in China's population of runners will easily outpace the rise in population overall, probably for many years to come.  

报道称,很可能在未来很多年,中国跑族人数的增长率都将轻轻松松地超过中国总体人口的增长率。


Short nappies and go long on fitness apps. That's a creed with truly Chinese characteristics. 

报道认为,做空尿片,做多健身应用。这才是真正具有中国特色的投资信条。

2016-06-22

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