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中国全面审查游泳禁药丑闻,为何沉默而非反击?

DAVID PIERSON

2024年7月4日

2021年7月,中国游泳运动员在东京奥运会上庆祝获得女子4x200米自由泳接力赛金牌。 Tim Clayton/Corbis, via Getty Images

In past years, when athletes from China have been accused of doping, the government has mobilized its propaganda apparatus of state-owned newspapers, television commentators and social media accounts to defend the athletes and deflect criticism of China’s sports system.

在以往,当中国运动员被指控使用兴奋剂时,中国政府会动用其宣传工具——官方报纸、电视评论员和社交媒体账户——为运动员辩护,转移外界对中国体育制度的批评。

This time, faced with anger from rival Olympians and charges of a coverup over the revelation that 23 elite Chinese swimmers had tested positive for a banned substance before competing in the 2021 Olympic Games, China is taking a different approach: virtual silence.

这一次,面对奥运会上的对手的愤怒,以及对23名中国顶尖游泳运动员在参加2021年奥运会前被曝出掩盖违禁药物检测结果呈阳性的指控,中国采取了不同的做法:保持沉默。

Even as the issue is being debated widely abroad, including in Congress last week, Chinese domestic media coverage has been limited to a handful of terse official statements. Censors have meticulously scrubbed and limited online discussions of the dispute — a level of censorship experts say is rare outside the most politically sensitive topics.

尽管这一问题在国外引起广泛讨论,包括上周在美国国会,但中国国内媒体的报道仅限于几个简短的官方声明。审查人员细致地过滤和限制了网上对这一争议的讨论——专家们表示,这种程度的审查很少见于最敏感的政治话题之外。

The change of tactic, experts say, reflects what is at stake for China weeks before the Olympic Games start in Paris. Eleven of the 23 swimmers who tested positive in 2021 have been named to the squad heading to Paris. Swimming is one of China’s most high-profile sports, which Beijing invested heavily in over the decades to turn the country into an Olympic powerhouse.

专家们说,这种策略的改变反映了中国在巴黎奥运会开幕前几周面临的风险。在2021年检测呈阳性的23名游泳运动员中,有11人入选了前往巴黎的队伍。游泳是中国最受瞩目的体育项目之一,几十年来,北京在这项运动上投入了大量资金,使中国成为奥运强国。

China has denied the accusations of wrongdoing. It has long sought to clean up its sports sector, stepping up testing after doping scandals in the 1990s and early 2000s. That makes suggestions of a cover-up highly embarrassing for China, where athletic competition has an outsize role in burnishing the image of the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

中国否认了对其不当行为的指控。长期以来,中国一直在努力整顿其体育部门,在上世纪90年代和本世纪初爆出兴奋剂丑闻后加强了兴奋剂检测。因此,有关掩盖真相的说法令中国极为尴尬,因为体育比赛在提升执政的中国共产党的形象方面发挥着巨大的作用。

“There is basically zero media coverage of this in China, which is very different from before when other Chinese athletes have been accused of doping,” said Haozhou Pu, an associate professor at the University of Dayton who studies sports in China.

戴顿大学研究中国体育的副教授浦浩洲(音)说,“在中国,媒体对此事的报道基本为零,这与以前其他中国运动员被指控使用兴奋剂的情况大不相同。”

Mr. Pu said officials are most likely hoping the story, which was reported by The New York Times in April, dies down before the start of the Olympics so that it does not distract the Chinese public or China’s swim team. That may explain China’s restrained response, Mr. Pu said.

浦浩洲说,官员们很可能希望《纽约时报》今年4月报道的这件事在奥运会开始前平息下来,以免令中国公众和中国游泳队分心。他说,这或许可以解释中国的克制反应。

“No news could be good news,” Mr. Pu said.

“没有消息可能就是好消息,”浦浩洲说。

When China’s most famous swimmer, Sun Yang, was accused of doping in 2018, state media scrutinized the fairness of the investigation with extensive coverage, and social media users were allowed to leave hundreds of thousands of comments voicing support for Mr. Sun.

2018年,当中国最著名的游泳运动员孙杨被指控服用兴奋剂时,官方媒体对调查的公正性做了大篇幅的报道社交媒体用户支持孙杨的评论有数十万条得以保留。

00china doping censorship 02 jkhz master10502019年,在瑞士蒙特勒举行的国际体育仲裁法庭公开听证会上,孙杨(左三)出席。

By comparison, state media coverage of the 23 swimmers has been largely limited to official remarks. Chinese authorities have said the swimmers’ positive tests in 2021 were based on tiny amounts of the banned substance that came from contaminated food, an explanation that some experts have questioned. The swimmers themselves have made no public comments.

相比之下,官方媒体对这23名游泳运动员的报道基本上仅限于官方言论。中国当局表示,这些游泳运动员在2021年的检测结果呈阳性,是因为他们从受污染的食物中摄入了极少量的违禁物质。这一解释受到了一些专家的质疑。当事游泳运动员们没有公开发表评论。

Chinese news reports have carried statements by the Chinese Foreign Ministry saying the country had a zero-tolerance policy on doping, and by China’s antidoping agency, Chinada, disputing the reporting by The Times and accusing the newspaper of violating “media ethics and morals.” One exception was an editorial in the Global Times, a Communist Party newspaper, that accused rival nations of intentionally “manipulating the issue of doping” and “smearing China’s swimming program.”

中国的新闻报道刊登了中国外交部的声明,称中国对兴奋剂采取零容忍政策,中国反兴奋剂机构中国反兴奋剂中心也发表声明,对时报的报道提出了质疑,并指责该报违反了“媒体伦理和道德”。唯一的例外是中共机关报《环球时报》的一篇社论,指责对手国家故意“操纵兴奋剂议题”,“抹黑中国游泳项目”。

Discussion of the story also appears to be heavily censored on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform similar to X. Searches for terms such as “doping,” “drug test,” “banned drugs,” “doping swimming” and “Chinese swimming team,” mostly turn up posts of Chinese news articles uniformly carrying official statements from the foreign ministry and China’s antidoping agency.

在微博上,对此事的讨论似乎也受到了严格审查。搜索“兴奋剂”、“药检”、“违禁药物”、“兴奋剂游泳”和“中国游泳队”等词语,出现的大多是中国新闻报道,内容都是千篇一律的外交部和中国反兴奋剂中心的官方声明。

As recently as 2022, internet censors allowed Weibo users to rally around Lyu Xiaojun, an Olympic gold medal-winning weight lifter who was suspended for doping. Scores of Chinese social media users accused “Westerners” of framing Mr. Lyu.

就在2022年,微博用户纷纷表达对因服用兴奋剂而被禁赛的奥运会举重金牌得主吕小军的支持,这得到了互联网审查机构的容许。许多中国社交媒体用户指责“西方人”诬陷吕小军。

More notably in 2012, Chinese state media came to the defense of the teenage sensation Ye Shiwen, a swimmer whose record-shattering victory in the 400-meter individual medley at the London Games was met with suggestions that she might have used performance-enhancing drugs.

更值得注意的是,2012年,中国官方媒体为轰动世界的年轻游泳运动员叶诗文辩护。在伦敦奥运会上,叶诗文在400米个人混合泳比赛中打破纪录,有人认为她可能服用了提高成绩的药物

Ms. Ye, who was 16 at the time, never tested positive, and many in China saw the allegations as outrageous. China’s state broadcaster lauded her for enduring “humiliation” at the hands of the “psychologically unbalanced Western media.” (Ms. Ye, who is not among the 23 swimmers, is competing in Paris next month.)

叶诗文当时16岁,从未被检测出呈阳性,许多中国人认为这些指控令人发指。中国国家电视台称赞她忍受了“心理失衡的西方媒体”的“羞辱”。(叶诗文不在这23名游泳运动员之列,她将于下月在巴黎参加比赛。)

00china doping censorship 03 jkhz master1050在2012年7月的伦敦奥运会上,16岁的叶诗文打破了400米个人混合泳的世界纪录。

Xiao Qiang, an expert on Chinese censorship at the University of California, Berkeley, said that the level of censorship around the current dispute over the 23 swimmers is similar to what would be applied to discussions around far more sensitive subjects. Such topics include the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre of pro-democracy protesters, and elections in Taiwan, the de facto independent island democracy claimed by Beijing, Mr. Xiao said.

加州大学伯克利分校研究中国审查制度的专家萧强说,目前围绕23名游泳运动员的争议所进行的审查与围绕更敏感话题的审查类似。萧强说,此类敏感话题包括1989年天安门广场对民主抗议者的屠杀,以及中国声称拥有主权但事实上独立的民主岛屿台湾的选举。

He noted that this also appeared to be the first time censors have imposed a blanket ban on online comments criticizing athletes accused of doping. Before, comments expressing disapproval of athletes sometimes slipped through the cracks, such as with Mr. Sun, a polarizing figure whom some Chinese internet users considered arrogant and deserving of his subsequent ban for doping.

他指出,这似乎也是审查机构首次全面禁止对被控服用兴奋剂的运动员的网上批评。在此之前,表达对运动员不满的评论有时会成为“漏网之鱼”,例如对孙杨的评价。一些中国网民认为这位毁誉参半的运动员傲慢自大,后来因服用兴奋剂被禁赛也是罪有应得。

The scandal comes at a bad time for China’s top sports authority, the General Administration of Sport, which oversees the Chinese Olympic Committee. In May, China announced that the former head of the authority, Gou Zhongwen, was being investigated for corruption.

对于监管中国奥委会的中国最高体育主管部门国家体育总局来说,这一丑闻来得不是时候。今年5月,中国宣布前国家体育总局局长苟仲文因涉嫌腐败正在接受调查。

00china doping censorship 04 jkhz master1050苟仲文(中)于2021年在北京的一次会议上公布参加东京奥运会的中国代表团。

China’s official explanation for the positive tests could raise questions from the Chinese public about how competently swimming officials are managing their athletes.

中国对药检阳性检测结果的官方解释可能会引发中国公众对游泳官员管理运动员能力的质疑。

Chinada asserts that the 23 swimmers were unwittingly contaminated with trace amounts of a banned substance called trimetazidine, or TMZ, a drug used to treat patients with heart disease that can also help athletes increase stamina and hasten recovery times. Chinada said the swimmers ingested TMZ through tainted food from a hotel kitchen. It did not explain how the substance ended up on athletes’ plates.

中国反兴奋剂中心声称,这23名游泳运动员在不知情的情况下被一种名为曲美他嗪的违禁物质污染,这种药物用于治疗心脏病患者,也可以帮助运动员增强耐力,加快恢复速度。中国反兴奋剂机构表示,这些游泳运动员是通过一家酒店厨房的受污染食物摄入曲美他嗪的。它没有解释这种物质如何出现在运动员的食物中。

American officials and other experts, citing protocol, said the swimmers should have been suspended or publicly identified pending further investigation. They said the failure to do so rested on Chinese sports officials; swimming’s international governing body, World Aquatics; and the World Anti-Doping Agency, or WADA, the Montreal-based global authority that oversees national drug-testing programs.

美国官员和其他专家援引规定说,这些游泳运动员本应被禁赛或公开身份,等待进一步调查。他们说,中国体育官员、世界游泳联合会(游泳项目的国际管理机构)和世界反兴奋剂机构(总部位于蒙特利尔的全球兴奋剂检测监管机构)却听之任之。

This month, The Times revealed that three of the 23 swimmers had tested positive several years earlier for another performance-enhancing drug. They had also avoided being publicly identified or suspended.

本月,时报披露,23名游泳运动员中,有三人几年前在另一种提高成绩的药物检测中结果呈阳性。当时他们也没有被公开指认或禁赛。

WADA confirmed the positive tests for “trace amounts” of the banned substance, known as clenbuterol, a drug commonly found in meat in some countries like China that can also help athletes increase muscle growth and burn fat. WADA said the three swimmers were contaminated by tainted food, but it did not explain why China did not abide by rules that compel them publicly disclose the positive tests.

世界反兴奋剂机构证实,这些运动员在名为克伦特罗的违禁物质检测中,结果呈“微量”阳性,这种药物在中国等一些国家的肉类中普遍存在,也可以帮助运动员增肌和燃脂。世界反兴奋剂机构表示,这三名游泳运动员受到了含有该物质食品的污染,但没有解释为什么中国没有遵守强制公开披露阳性检测结果的规定。

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