Sport is a fantastic instrument of soft power, and the Chinese is using it to spread its national cultural values, as well as attracting foreign investors and visitors to the country.
This event of June 4, 2002, was noted a major accomplishment by the country, as scoring just a goal would have erupted into a national celebration.
Taking a note from this poor football presence in China, the Asian country dreamed winning the FIFA world cup by 2050.
This dream, the football loving President of the nation -Xi Jinping has adopted it a national policy and pledged money to make it happen.
Some of the best playing footballers have been attracted to the Chinese Super League. The Chinese clubs now rival big European clubs for players of their choice. Diago Costa nearly exited Chelsea for a move to the Beijing Enterprise Club.
Not only this, Chinese companies are now acquiring clubs across Europe as well as investing in football in their country. Thus, changing the dynamics of football business in the world.
These moves are noted to be aimed at assimilating the coaching and sports marketing knowledge of advanced leagues in the Europe. In other words, China is taking soccer beyond funfare, and integrating it into the economic system of the country. One move the Spanish and England economies have greatly benefitted from.
Another use of football is in the area of gaining popular support for the government and its policy. Hence, it is no surprise that football and power in politics are now intertwined as shown by the involvement of FIFA in political arrangement of some of the Caribbean countries.
Sport is a fantastic instrument of soft power. The Chinese are thus using it to spread its national cultural values, as well as attracting foreign investors and visitors to the country.
To end this, there is now a popular joke amongst Chinese football fans which shows the prowess in the use of sports for national orientation and support for government policy.
“A man dies and goes to heaven, and, on meeting God, he’s offered one wish. Unfortunately, the man asks for something unattainable, even for God, so he’s granted a second wish." The man responds, “I wish that China will win the World Cup”. Pausing for a second, God replies: “Tell me your other wish again?”
With more sports-related developments coming out of the Asian country, China will tend to achieve both social and economic goals with its footballing quest.