- Video report by ITV News China Correspondent Debi Edward.
Six positive tests for banned substances in as many months has put China back under the spotlight of the World Anti-Doping agencies.
All of the positive tests came from swimmers and so far only one has been banned by the country’s Olympic committee. Sun Yang served his three-month ban in secret and was then given a free pass into the squad for the Games in Rio this summer.
This cluster of positive tests prompted a former Olympic Doctor, Dr Xue Yinxian to speak to ITV News, sharing her concerns that a state-sponsored doping programme she saw introduced in the 1970s is still operating today.
Dr Xue was expelled from the Chinese Olympic Team after the Seoul Games in 1988.
She had refused to dope her athletes and spoken out against the practice. Since then she and her family have faced persecution from the authorities.
The 69-year-old lives under house arrest, unable to leave the country with her movements and communications monitored by the police. Last year she tried to go and visit friends in Hong Kong but was stopped at the border. She is considered to be the holder of state secrets.
She risked speaking to us because she says she fears for the young athletes she believes are being given drugs by coaches desperate for Gold medals. She described the experience of one athlete she was close to:
She says those involved in doping have become increasingly sophisticated:
“They have a more clever way now than in my times. They will use it, but in a more hidden way," she said.
We asked the Chinese Anti-Doping Agency (Chinada) to respond to Dr Xue’s claims, this was the statement they gave us:
With just four months to go until the Olympic Games in Rio, China finds itself once again facing some uncomfortable questions.