Doped Chinese swimmers? - CHINADA, WADA and the CCP

1 MAY 2024

Doped Chinese swimmers? - CHINADA, WADA and the CCP

A leading Charles Sturt University academic shines some timely light on the alleged suppression by relevant agencies of the doping of 23 Chinese swimmers at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.

By Charles Sturt Professor of Public Ethics Clive Hamilton (inset above).

For the many interested in some of the pertinent politics behind the alleged suppression by the China Anti-Doping Agency (CHINADA) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) of the evidence of doping of 23 Chinese swimmers at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, this revealing photo (left) is a good place to start.

It shows members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) at CHINADA studying General Secretary Xi Jinping’s report to the CCP National Congress in 2022. Note, the room features the CCP flag.

Party members at CHINADA were told their job is to ‘ … contribute to the construction of a sports power and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation’.

Chen Zhiyu, then Director of CHINADA, doubled as Secretary of the in-house Party committee. He said Xi Jinping’s report was inspiring. Chen was last year promoted to a senior position in the General Administration of Sport.

Li Zhiquan, CHINADA’s current director, is also its CCP Committee secretary. For all Party members, it goes without saying (although it is repeated endlessly) that their first loyalty is to the CCP. That applies to Party members at CHINADA. And what the CCP Committee secretary says, goes.

For Chinese nationalists, Olympic glory wipes away historical humiliation.

“To win Olympic glory for the Motherland is a sacred mission entrusted to us by Party Central,” said a China sports official before the Beijing Olympics. Every gold medal adds legitimacy to the CCP.

The head of the General Administration of Sport, Gao Zhidan, said they must “ … win glory for the country, fight tenaciously and climb to the top on the Olympic stage and world competitions, use the power of sports to strengthen patriotism …”.

Has WADA, just like the World Health Organization (WHO) in the early months of the COVID outbreak, been gaslit or intimidated by the Chinese government into looking the other way?

Associate Press (AP) reported on China’s ‘growing influence’ in WADA (just as China had become very influential in WHO). In the two years before WADA signed off on CHINADA’s clearing of the 23 swimmers, China contributed an extra $2 million to WADA to strengthen its investigations unit.

Not long afterwards, WADA appointed former Olympic speed skater Yang Yang as a vice president.

She rejects accusations it was a quid pro quo. A CCP member, Yang is prominent in top CCP United Front organisations, the CPPCC and the All-China Youth Federation, which are devoted to advancing the Party’s interest.

With sports doping, as with COVID, the foremost objective of the CCP is to avoid international embarrassment.

Xue Yinxian, the courageous Chinese sports team doctor who blew the whistle on massive state-sponsored doping in the 1980s and 90s, now lives in Germany, where she’s been harassed.

Security police have been threatening Xue Yinxian’s family members in China to pressure her to remain quiet.

Unlike US officials, reactions to the scandal by Australian sports officials have been feeble. Perhaps they remember the brutal treatment of Australian swimmer Mack Horton and his family in Melbourne when Mack called out Sun Yang for cheating.

CCP outlet the Global Times attacked Australia for its ‘white supremacism’ and ‘touch of barbarism’. Sun Yang was later banned for eight years for doping, later reduced to four.

The bottom line is that accusations of cheating in China’s sport touches raw nerves of national pride and global assertiveness. And they damage the CCP’s legitimacy.

The Party will do anything to deny and cover up.

WADA has commissioned an independent review to examine the allegations and deliver a report in about two months’ time.

Media Note:

To arrange interviews with Professor Clive Hamilton, contact Bruce Andrews at Charles Sturt Media on mobile tel:0418669362 or

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