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Life-time ban for Chinese doping violators
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Doping at the Beijing Olympic Games will result in a life-time ban for Chinese athletes as China is working hard to crack down on drug cheats.

China is making great efforts to send a clean team to the August 8-24 Games with tough punishments, frequent tests and constant anti-doping education for its athletes, especially those headed towards the Games.

"I think it is safe to say that once an Chinese athlete is found doping at the Games, his or her playing career is over," said Jiang Zhixue, deputy secretary general of Chinese Olympic Committee, who is responsible for doping control.

The country's sport governing body State General Administration of Sport put in force in March a regulation saying that national team athletes will be banned for life for doping rules violation and his or her coach will also face life-time ban.

"Not just the athlete, the coach or even team doctor will be punished too. It doesn't mean that coaches or doctors are necessarily involved in the athlete's doping case but they need to be aware of their responsibility," said Jiang.

In the past six months, China banned two national team athletes and their coaches for life due to doping rules violation after carrying out 6,038 tests, a new high in history, said Jiang.

Chinese men's top backstroke swimmer Ouyang Kunpeng and wrestler Luo Meng received the most severe punishments of life-time bans after the two national team athletes were respectively tested positive for anabolic steroid clenbuterol and furosemide, a diuretic.

Ouyang's coach Feng Shangbao and Luo's coach Zhang Hua were also suspended for life.

Besides, all the Chinese athletes attending the Games will be made to vow before the national flag.

"They will make an oath before the national flag, promising that they will not use banned drugs, nor do anything violating the rules," he said.

"They and their coaches will also sign on a letter of commitment, which is more educational than legal," he added.

Jiang admitted, however, that doping cheats are hard to entirely wipe out despite all the measures.

"It is like policemen and thieves. Thieves don't disappear just because there are policemen around," he said.

"The fight against doping has a long hard way to go," he said.

Jiang said China's fight against doping would keep scaling up even after the Games.

"We are happy that the government has joined in and given great support," he said.

In the most recent combined effort from eight government departments, a nationwide inspection took place to tighten management of performance-enhancing drug suppliers and manufacturers.

(Xinhua News Agency July 13, 2008)

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