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China sports ministry accused of inaction over corruption

China sports ministry accused of inaction over corruption
May 10, 2016

China's Sports Ministry is the focus of a fresh probe by the country's top anti-corruption body amid fears the Ministry is not taking the country’s anti-corruption campaign seriously enough.

The South China Morning Post has reported that, as part of a wider scheme to stamp out all forms of corruption in the Communist Party, 17 ministry discipline officials were called to answer Central Commission for Discipline Inspection claims that they were being lax in following party rules on fighting corruption.

According to the report, disciplinary officials believe that many departments have failed to grasp the seriousness of the corruption problem, though they gave no details as to which particular officials or departments might be punished.

Last year, China’s Sports Minister, Liu Peng, claimed that the country's obsession with gold medals had warped its sporting spirit, amid a climate which often encourages victory at all costs.

China, which is aggressively seeking to stamp out graft in Communist Party and government ranks, has also sought to eject corrupt elements from its sports establishment, particularly within football, which has been hit by match-fixing scandals.

The country was hit by two new sports graft scandals last year, with probes into Deputy Sports Minister Xiao Tian, who sat on China’s Olympics committee.

Chinese athletes won the most gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, a feat accompanied by a wave of national pride, the culmination of China’s ‘100 year dream’” to host the world’s most prestigious sports event.

At the London Olympics four years later, China came second to the United States in the medals table.

Olympic medals are generally won by a minority of government-supported athletes who receive huge backing from the state and a failure to perform is accompanied by massive public pressure and hand-wringing back home.

While China is far from being a winter sports power, Beijing, along with the neighbouring city of Zhangjiakou, will host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

In March, President Xi Jinping said China must hold a Winter Olympics that is “clean as the snow”.

Images: Track action from the Beijing Olympics (top) and 

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