In the early morning the Chinese streetscene includes people of all ages, on their own or in groups, preparing for their day’s work with jogging, keepfit exercises or slow motion shadow boding – performing the gently flowing arm and leg movements of Taijiquan, or Taiji as it’s called in the West. This is regarded not as a sporting activity but as a form of exercise requiring inner peace and concentration which brings mind and body into one harmonious whole.
Aerobics are also popular, often to tape recorded music.
The number of sporting activities for foreign visitors to China is expanding, including trekking (see Mountain Trekking) in Tibet or other largely untouched mountain regions such as those of Guilin, hiking in Hong Kong and the New Territories, windsurfing and para-gliding in Guangdong, and skiing in the north-east of the country. Golf is still relatively undeveloped.
Many Chinese cities put on courses where foreigners can learn or perfect their knowledge of the various martial arts.
A training camp has been set up nearthe Shaolin Monastery for Shaolin martial arts and here visitors can watch demonstrations of Shaolin and the hard form of Qigong.
Visitors can play tennis, billiards and table tennis in Beijing at the International Club on Ritanlu, west ofthe Friendship Store.
Hotel Kempinski (see Hotels) has a fitness centre with a pool, sauna and solarium, and squash and tennis courts. There is also a 9-hole golf course next door.
The Olympic Village north of the city centre, 20km/12 miles west of Capital International Airport, was built in 1990 for the 11th Asian Games and has a hotel, apartment block, offices and shopping centre as well as all the sporting facilities. These include a football stadium, badminton and volleyball arena, international tennis centre, baseball and softball stadium, hockey stadium, indoor swimming pool, handball arena (Northern Suburbs’ Arena) and a table tennis hall (Beijing Workers’ Arena).