Gold Medal Gymnasts’ Underage Scandal Continues
Gold Medal Gymnasts’ Underage Scandal Continues

China's gold medalist He Kexin was only 13 in 2007, a snapshot of a report on Xinhua News revealed. (The Epoch Times)
China's gold medalist He Kexin was only 13 in 2007, a snapshot of a report on Xinhua News revealed. (The Epoch Times)
China won the gold medal for the women’s gymnastics team event Wednesday and the controversy over some team member's age came under the spotlight again.

Gymnasts He Kexin, Jiang Yuyuan, and Yang Yilin changed their ages to meet the minimum requirement for Olympic competition eligibility, according to a report by CNN on August 13.

Other media including the Associated Press and New York Times revealed before the Olympic opening ceremony that two Chinese girl gymnasts were only 13 last year as stated by Chinese news services. But the passports presented to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) show they are 16 years old, and the IOC has accepted them as valid proof.  

The Chinese communist regime has denied changing the age of the gymnasts in their passports.

The Epoch Times has conducted research to verify reports.

He Kexin Only 14 Years Old in May 2008

He Kexin’s name is mentioned in a roster of athletes competing in a local sports event published on January 27, 2006 on Chengdu Sports Bureau’s official website. Under the gymnastics category, He Kexin, gymnast No. 10, is listed as born on January 1, 1994.

According to a report by China Daily on May 23, 2008, He Kexin had just turned 14. “This 14-year-old gymnast joined the national team for training last year, but she has attracted enough attention in the past few months,” the report stated.

A snapshot of He Kexin's birthday published on the Chengdu Sports Bureau's official website in January 2006. (The Epoch Times)
A snapshot of He Kexin's birthday published on the Chengdu Sports Bureau's official website in January 2006. (The Epoch Times)

Another report by the Chinese regime’s mouthpiece Xinhua News on November 3, 2007 entitled “10 New Stars on the 6th Chengdu Sports Competition” reported that He Kexin was 13 in 2007.

“He Kexin, a 13-year-old athlete from Wuhan, competed against Yang Yiling, a representative from the national team. With the support of the audience, this little girl did a splendid air tumble routine and beat Yang Yiling, the bronze medalist of World Games. Lu Shanzhen, the head coach for the national women’s gymnast team, applauded for her,” the report said.

Xinhua has since deleted the report, although it is cached by the Google search engine.

Second Gymnast's Age Disputed

According to the New York Times, another disputed gymnast, Jiang Yuyuan, presented her passport issued on March 2, 2006. Her passport says she was born on November 1, 1991 and, thus, meets the minimum age requirement for the Olympic Games.

Yet on the athlete roster issued by Zhejiang Provincial Sports Bureau, Jiang Yuyuan has a different birthday that makes her under 15. The roster has every athlete’s ID number and birthday. On Jiang Yuyuan’s ID, she was born on October 1, 1993, which makes her under 15 and ineligible for the Olympic Games.

Age of China’s Gymnasts Indisputable: Chinese Athletes Association

In response to the age controversy, the Chinese Athletes Association says the ages of the gymnasts are “indisputable” and claims the previous Chinese news reports to be inaccurate.

According to a report by Sports Forum Weekly on July 30, the Chairman of Gymnastics Center Gao Jian, faxed the IOC all the documents proving the age of He Kexin.

"These documents included her birthday certificate, household identification book, ID, and her registration to the national team. The entire process took less than 20 minutes,” the report said, adding that the Chairman of the IOC, “quickly verified the documents and announced that the age has been checked.”

The report did not mention how the Chairman of IOC managed to verify these documents so quickly.

Chinese people have posted comments on the Internet that documents from China may be false for the sake of “national interest.”

A blogger named “dsdx” commented sarcastically, “All documents from China may be false for the sake of national interest, even if will cost all the national resources to create false documents. Everything has been prepared to defend the falsehood.”

Another blogger named “Anonymous Tourist” says, “Why do you find it shocking? The Chinese citizens’ age and names are decided according to the need of the nation. It is nothing.”

Click here for the original article in Chinese: http://epochtimes.com/b5/8/8/15/n2228972.htm

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