China's global influence is not only on the political and economic sphere, but is showcased through its growing soft power as well; the emergence is spreading even to the noble art of the sweet science.
One of the four major boxing sanctioning bodies, the World Boxing Organization (WBO) sent its cordial wishes from overseas when people hailed the 60th birthday of New China last week, on October 1.
“Congratulations to all of the people of China on the anniversary of the 60th Anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China!” WBO vice-president John P. Duggan wrote to this journalist via e-mail.
“Throughout history, China has been the center of scholarship, culture, scientific development, and the garden of the world. China is now a leader in technology, industry and finance as well,” he wrote.
Six decades ago, when the leader of the New China Zedong Mao declared that the Chinese people have stood up, it marked a whole new chapter in the nation's 5000-year history and the beginning of a series of tremendous transformations.
Six decades later, with the reform of the systematic innovation and opening-up policy, Chinese people, now numbering one-fifth of the world population, stand tall and firm.
“There've been earthshaking changes for the past 60 years in China and we progressed with great difficulties,” Minghui Shi, a Chinese citizen who is in the same age range as the PRC and has witnessed all of its major shifts, told TSS in Beijing. “Now, we have much more cash in our pockets.”
Duggan, who is scheduling a trip to Beijing, wants to assemble an elite group, consisting of Emanuel Steward, Freddie Roach and Enzo Calzaghe, to the heart of China in November. He has been to China for a number of times.
“The progression of Beijing in just the last two years I have been coming to China is awesome,” Duggan told TSS last year in Beijing. “China has the energy, talent, resources, traditions and culture to be able to lead the world at whatever it chooses.”
“China has such great forward vision that it chooses to lead in productivity, reinvestment in its infrastructure, frugality, and in improving the lives of its citizens and its posterity. You can only realize this by visiting China and experiencing the scope of the efforts.”
While other economic superpowers such as the United States and United Kingdom barely struggle out of depression, China has recorded significant GDP growth and is on the verge of surpassing Japan as the world's second largest economy in the coming years. Unlike countries which sent thousands of workers home, people in China's major cities such as Beijing are working, and their take-home wages are steadily increasing.
Nowadays ordinary Beijingers, especially those in their twenties or thirties, have gotten used to a lifestyle that includes online reading, internet surfing, high-end video gaming, concerts, culture-oriented traveling.
When people's standard of living reaches a certain quality, their cultural consumption will grow. Professional boxing falls right under the category of cultural industry.
“The World Boxing Organization is very pleased that China has undertaken professional boxing again,” Duggan wrote. “Sports are another important way that people and cultures can come together and increase affection, esteem, and understanding of each other.”
Zhenyu Li, a Beijing-based bilingual sports and culture columnist for People's Daily online covers boxing for The Global Times and TheSweetScience.com. His agent can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.