Stadium diplomacy

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Stadium diplomacy is a form of cultural diplomacy practiced by the People's Republic of China through building and donating stadiums and sports facilities in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and the South Pacific.[1]

The construction of stadiums is financed depending on the project with some given as gifts; paid for through low interest, concessional loans; built in partnership with both China and the host nation taking on different construction responsibilities; or through some other kind of partnership.[2]


The following includes overseas stadiums and sports facilities built by China and donated as gifts or financed in association with the host country.[2] Stadiums built by Chinese construction firms but without Chinese government financing assistance are not listed.



  •  Laos New Laos National Stadium (2009) - A sports complex with a 25,000 seat main venue and a 2,000 capacity indoor aquatics complex, with an outdoor warm-up pool, a tennis centre with 2,000 seats, six other tennis courts, two indoor stadiums each with a seating for 3,000 and an indoor shooting range with 50 seats. It was built in time for the 2009 Southeast Asian Games and fully financed by China in a barter agreement with the Laotian government for a large tract of land in the outer capital region.[29]
  •  Mongolia National Stadium (2010) - With capacity for 5000, the stadium is the largest in the country. Construction took place from 2008-2010 with financial support from the Chinese government in the form of a 110 million RMB grant.[30]
  •  Myanmar (1989)
  •    Nepal Dashrath Stadium renovations (1999, 2012) - Although the stadium wasn't built by China, separate grants by the Chinese government funded renovation of the facilities in 1999 and 2012. In the 1999, an international-level synthetic track was installed.[31] For the 2012 upgrade a 500 KW generator was installed and repairs took care of the 1200-lux floodlights, scoreboard, speakers and sound system.[31]
  •  Syria Stadium located in Damascus (1980) - A stadium built in 1980 by China National Corporation for Overseas Economic Cooperation using Chinese government aid funds.[16][32]


  •  Antigua and Barbuda Sir Vivian Richards Stadium (2007) - Funded by a Chinese government grant, the 60 million USD cricket stadium is a 20,000 seat complex built in time for the 2007 Cricket World Cup.[33]
  •  Bahamas National Stadium of The Bahamas at Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre (2012) - The 35 million USD stadium was chosen by the government of the Bahamas from among several choices for a substantial gift from China.[34]
  •  Barbados Garfield Sobers Gymnasium (1992) - A 6,000 seat sports facility with a swimming pool and facilities for 12 sports in total that was built during 1990-1992 by China State Construction Engineering, based on a grant of 16 million Barbados dollars by the Chinese government.[35][36]
  •  Dominica Windsor Park (2007) - In exchange for severing diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 2004, the government of China donated the 12,000 seat stadium, constructed and designed at a cost of 45 million East Caribbean dollars by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation and Wuhan Architectural and Design Institute along with several Dominican engineers sent to China to join the design team.[37] A local paper covering the opening night described "scenes of raw excitement and drama not seen in Dominica since November 3, 1978 when the island attained political independence from Great Britain...Roseau erupted in a wild frenzy for a moment in time that probably won’t be repeated again in the lifetimes of the thousands gathered to witness it."[37]
  •  Grenada Queen's Park Stadium (2007) - The hurricane damaged stadium was rebuilt as a 40 million USD gift from China in time for the 2007 Cricket World Cup.[38] The gift from China was provided following the switch in diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to China in 2005 by the Grenadan government.[38] Subsequently the Export-Import Bank of Taiwan sued the government of Grenada for defaulting on a loan, part of which was intended to fund the Queen's Park Stadium.[38]
  •  Jamaica Sligoville mini-stadium (2007) - The miniature stadium has a 600-seat basketball and netball court; 1,200-seat cricket oval; a 1,500-seat football field; and a 400-metre track circling the football field. The gift from the government of China was constructed by the Shanxi Construction Engineering Group Corporation. A site inspection by a journalist from the Jamaica Observer in 2013 found the stadium to be in ruins due to the neglect resulting from a strict policy of not allocating any funds for maintenance.[39]
  •  St. Lucia George Odlum Stadium (2002) - The 9,000 capacity stadium was built with financing by China.[40] After abandoning ties with China and recognizing Taiwan in 2007, the Taiwanese government provided grant money in 2009 for the refurbishment of the facility and installation of a state of the art track, in time for the Carifta Games.[41] In the aftermath of a fire that burned down one of two public hospitals in the country, some of stadium facilities were converted into a fully functional hospital with "two operating rooms, an ER Department, as well as a Medical, Paediatric and a Surgical Ward".[42]
  •  Suriname Anthony Nesty Sporthal (1987) - An indoor sports hall built by the Chinese government and paid for through a loan extended from China. The facility is actively used to host sports events, concerts, fairs, and occasional political assemblies for electing the President of Suriname.[43]

Latin America[edit]

  •  Costa Rica National Stadium (2011) - Following a breakaway from diplomatic recognition of Taiwan in favor of China by the Costa Rican government in 2007, China spent an estimated 100 million USD to construct the stadium from 2008 to 2011.[44] Local newspaper, the Tico Times called the stadium "Costa Rica’s jewel" and the design "an aerodynamic masterpiece".[44]

South Pacific[edit]

  •  Cook Islands Telecom Sports Arena (2009) - A 1000-seat sports complex housing netball, volleyball, handball, weightlifting, and squash. Funding for the $14 million facility came from concessional loans provided by the Chinese government.
  •  Federated States of Micronesia FSM-China Friendship Sports Center (2002) - A multipurpose gym built from 1999-2002 by the Guangzhou International Economic And Technical Cooperation Company at a cost of 5 million USD was turned over to FSM from the government of China.[45]
  •  Fiji National Hockey Centre - Built with financial assistance from the Chinese government for the 2003 South Pacific Games.[46]
  •  Kiribati Betia Sports Complex (2006) - Construction of the sports complex began in 2002 with a 5.5 million USD grant from the government of China.[47] When Kiribati severed diplomatic ties with China by switching to Taiwan, China suspended work on the partially completed project.[48] Taiwan restarted construction and the complex opened in 2006.[49] The facilities include indoor and outdoor basketball courts, a soccer and football ground and a gymnasium seating more than one thousand.
  •  Papua New Guinea Wewak Sports Stadium (2010) - A stadium was built at a cost of 19 million Kina, the combined contribution of 12 million Kina in funds from the Chinese government and 7 million Kina contributed by Papua New Guinea.[50]
  •  Samoa Apia Park Stadium (1983) - A stadium built as an aid project by China for Samoa to host the 7th South-Pacific Games.[51] When it came time in 2007, for Samoa to once again host the games, the Chinese government provided a grant of 19 million USD to refurbish the facilities, using a team of Chinese engineers with local contractors to do the work.[52]


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  2. ^ a b "China's 'Stadium Diplomacy' In Africa And Its Top Beneficiaries". Ventures Africa. 2013-03-29.
  3. ^ "GRA Slashes Budget as Macro Outlook Deteriorates". Wikileaks.
  4. ^ "中国援建的贝宁友谊体育场维修工程竣工" (in Chinese). Xinhua. 22 January 2003. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  5. ^ "China's top political advisor visits Yaounde Stadium, Confucius Institute in Cameroon". People's Daily. March 26, 2010.
  6. ^ "10YAOUNDE95, China's Growing Presence in Cameroon". Wikileaks.
  7. ^ "Chinese contractor finishes building Cape Verde's national stadium in October 2013".
  8. ^ "Chinese foreign minister arrives Bangui". AfricaNews. 5 January 2007.
  9. ^ "Djibouti and Request for Info on Chinese Assistance to Africa". Wikileaks.
  10. ^ "10NAIROBI181, Chinese Engagement in Kenya". Wikileaks.
  11. ^ "China-built Moi International Sports Center being fully used". People's Daily. May 17, 2005.
  12. ^ "Kasarani spruced up as military rehearses handover". Capital News. April 2, 2013.
  13. ^ "Is Mali ready for Nations' Cup?". BBC. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  14. ^ a b "David V. Goliath: Mauritius facing up to China" (PDF). African Economic Research Consortium. January 2008.
  15. ^ "Anjalay stadium, Belle Vue". Mauritius Sports Council.
  16. ^ a b "Reference List of Recent Major Urban Public Infrastructure Projects". China National Corporation for Overseas Economic Cooperation.
  17. ^ "China Donated Project of Reparation of SEYNI KOUNTCHE Stadium in Niger". China Geo-Engineering Corporation International Ltd.
  18. ^ "Stadium of Rwanda". China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.
  19. ^ "Flashback to terror". The Independent. 29 March 2006.
  20. ^ "Leopold Senghor Stadium in Dakar, Senegal". Xinhua/Tai Jianqiu.
  21. ^ "China hands over national swimming pool to Seychelles ahead of Indian Ocean Island Games". Xinhua. July 9, 2011.
  22. ^ "随笔:塞拉利昂的中国气息" (in Chinese). Xinhua. 20 March 2013. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  23. ^ "President Koroma Unveils Bo Stadium". State House of the Republic of Sierra Leone. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  24. ^ "Chinese structures endure in Mogadishu, Somalia". CCTV. 2012-06-28.
  25. ^ Ogunsanwo, Alaba (1974). China's Policy in Africa, 1958-71. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 251.
  26. ^ "SMZ to protect Amaan Stadium". Guardian IPP. April 1, 2010.
  27. ^ Harunah, Lumu (13 January 2012). "China delivers Ushs 70bn President's office". Sunrise.
  28. ^ Bakama, James (February 14, 2011). "Namboole Stadium revamp almost done". New Vision.
  29. ^ "Laos Stumbles on Path to Sporting Glory". New York Times. 2009-10-06.
  30. ^ "Chinese vice president attends stadium construction launch in Ulan Bator". People's Daily. June 20, 2008.
  31. ^ a b "Dashrath Stadium Renovation". Xinhua. Dec 7, 2012.
  32. ^ "China's Foreign Aid in 1978". Contemporary Asian Studies Series. 1979.
  33. ^ "China Splurges on Caribbean Cricket in Quest to Isolate Taiwan". Bloomberg. March 7, 2007.
  34. ^ Archibald, Randal C. (April 7, 2012). "China Buys Inroads in the Caribbean, Catching U.S. Notice". The New York Times.
  35. ^ "Steady Development of China-Barbados Economic and Trade Relations". The Economic and Commercial Counselor's Office of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Barbados.
  36. ^ Explore Barbados. Manatee Press. 2000. p. 102.
  37. ^ a b Douglas, Sean (October 29, 2007). "Thousands join in the opening of the Windsor Park stadium".
  38. ^ a b c "World Cup gaffe". Jamaica Gleaner. February 5, 2007.
  39. ^ "Chinese lament waste of money on Sligoville mini-stadium". Jamaica Observer. May 19, 2013.
  40. ^ "George Odlum National Stadium". St. Lucia News. August 28, 2013.
  41. ^ "Southern Hospitality?". The Voice. 24 November 2009.
  42. ^ "St. Lucia Country Specific Information". US State Department.
  43. ^ Tjon Sie Fat, Paul B. (2009). Chinese New Migrants in Suriname. Amsterdam University Press. ISBN 9789056295981.
  44. ^ a b "Costa Rica's 35,000-seat National Stadium opens". Tico Times. March 25, 2011. Archived from the original on October 5, 2013.
  45. ^ "FSM-China dedicates multi-purpose gym". Government of the Federated States of Micronesia.
  46. ^ "Facilities". Fiji Sports Council.
  47. ^ "Foundations laid for Kiribati sports complex". Radio Australia. 28 November 2002.
  48. ^ "China Pulls Out of Kiribati, Taiwan Moves In". Pacific Islands Report. April 15, 2004.
  49. ^ "Kiribati Rises to the Occasion to Host Outstanding Development Visit". ITTF News. 2007-09-24.
  50. ^ Gare, Cyril. "Graffiti goes on stadium". Mamose Post.
  51. ^ "China-Samoa The Fruitful Economic and Trade Cooperation". Ministry of Commerce.
  52. ^ "15,000 Stadium Open for Games". The Fiji Times. July 26, 2007.

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