That is interesting. I have a very good friend from China I think she is from the city Chengdu. She was a member of my badminton club at school, but made it seem like she never was given time to do sports. School was all day long and either you were to be academic or athletic and separated from one another. Its a major city in China, but I wonder if things are very different from city to city there.
There actually isn’t as much of a conflict as I probably let on. The physical culture in the general population is much more lifestyle oriented…healthier food, lots of walking and biking, tai chi every morning (for the older folks), calisthenic parks all over the city.
Organized sport is MUCH less so and seems to be an all-or-none deal where you are either a student or an athlete but rarely both. In fact, this is so much the case that many parents do not want their children to become athletes because unless they really make it big (i.e. Yao and Liu) they’ll likely have a hard time finding a good job when they retire from sport. I had heard that it is quite normal to have 10-12 hour school days that start at 6am in the morning.