Liu Xiang may sue clinic over reputation infringement

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Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang's team may take legal action against a clinic which used a picture of the athlete on a flyer promoting a "cure" for premature ejaculation.

The picture is of Liu just after he crashed into the first hurdle during the men's 110m hurdles heat at the London Olympics.

The flyer, advertising Huifen Hospital in the southern city of Guangzhou doesn't say the runner is Liu but the athlete, although his face is not shown as his head is bowed, is instantly recognizable and the name "Liu" can be seen on his vest.

Under the picture are the words: "Falling immediately after start! Premature ejaculation is men's unspeakable agony."

And it boasts that, with the hospital's latest technology, patients can prolong their "sexual life" for 15 minutes with a 15-minute surgical procedure.

Yesterday, Liu's coach Sun Haiping told Shanghai Daily they would be studying the case and would "definitely sue the hospital if it was proved to be using Liu's picture."

An investigation into the self-claimed hospital found that it was a small clinic which had gained some notoriety due to the number of patients who had criticized it online.

A former patient using the name "gzlt" wrote: "I paid more than 10,000 yuan for an abortion surgery! The clinic kept asking you to pay more by threatening how things may turn worse if you don't pay. Why such a black-hearted clinic may exist in the modern city?"

It was reported that the flyers had been distributed across Guangzhou after they were illegally inserted into major newspapers.

A photograph of the leaflet was posted online sparking heated discussion about the use of Liu's picture.

Some people said the hospital's use of the photograph was damaging to the 29-year-old athlete and infringed his rights. Others, however, saw the funny side of the picture showing the 2004 Olympic champion after his disastrous fall in London.

Li Guoxiong, head of the Chinese hurdles team, said he would discuss with Liu and his coach whether to take the hospital to court, the Yangtze Evening News reported yesterday.

Liu's back-up team told reporters that the matter would be reported to China's Athletics Administrative Center.


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