Overseas Chinese offer full support to help share experiences
Updated: 2015-08-06

Overseas Chinese have provided strong support to the 2015 China (Shanghai) International Youth Football Tournament, an event to promote the growth of youth soccer in the country, according to organizers.

Data from the Shanghai Overseas Chinese Foundation shows that overseas Chinese contributed about 5.6 million yuan ($900,000) to sponsoring eight foreign teams' insurance, return flights and other related expenses.

SOCF is a public donation fund management organization supported by the Shanghai All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese. As one of the organizers of the event, SOCF manages the only public donation account for the event.

Apart from financial aid, overseas Chinese provided other support that cannot be measured in numbers, organizers said.

Wang Jiahua, president of the Slovak Friendship Shanghai Association, contacted a Slovakian crystal trophy maker to provide all the 10 trophies for the tournament. The trophies were transported to China as diplomatic goods before the game.

Wu Yihong, director manager of the Australian Chinese Information Center, founded an Australian soccer team in less than three months for the tournament.

As the Australian winter school semester starts in July, Wu had the additional task of persuading the young players' parents to allow their children to go to China during the semester period.

Zou Wenjie, general manager and board chairman of Shanghai Fleety Communications, contacted soccer clubs in Potsdam, Germany, and they drew up a German team to participate in the Shanghai tournament.

"They not only act as overseas contact people (for the tournament) but also volunteers and promoters," said Shen Min, president of SHACFROC. "Without support from those overseas Chinese, the preparation of the tournament might not have gone as smoothly as it did."

The overseas Chinese said they consider it worthwhile to invest their time and money in the public event. They said the event is not only an ideal platform to strengthen connections between countries but also a good chance to support the development of local youth soccer.

"There is no better investment than investing in youth development," said Gong Liming, president of the European Federation of Shanghai Society. Gong put forward more than 1 million yuan in sponsorship for the tournament.

"We hope Chinese youth soccer players can learn from foreign teams and have better performances in the future," said Wang.

"China has experienced dramatic changes in the past decades and we would like to be a bridge between China and foreigners," Wu said. "On the one hand, we will show China's changes to foreigners and on the other hand, we want to bring advanced foreign experiences to the Chinese."

In the past decades, overseas Chinese have played a key role in supporting China's development. Government data shows that overseas Chinese and ethnic Chinese living abroad - about 60 million people - have been a major force in China's development. Their investments in the country have accounted for more than 60 percent of foreign investment since 1978.

"To realize the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation, we need the strong support and active participation of overseas Chinese people," Premier Li Keqiang told the first global overseas Chinese industry and commerce convention in Beijing on July 6.

To better serve overseas Chinese and establish a good platform for them to support their homeland, SHACFROC is sparing no efforts to innovate its operating model. Taking the soccer tournament as an example, it is the first time SHACFROC has run an international event with funds from both the government and non-government groups.

"Many overseas Chinese are willing to support the development of China and are looking for ways to establish closer ties with China but there is no platform for them to do so. Thus we have to create a platform for them," Shen said.

"The tournament is an ideal platform to gather overseas Chinese intelligence and financial abilities, which support Chinese soccer development," she added.
 

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