Even after their gold medal finish, China is facing widespread suspicion that it forged documents to use underaged girls in the competition in violation of Olympic rules. Half of the team appear much younger than 16. After China used an attractive nine-year-old girl to lip sync the opening song because the actual girl singing was viewed as too homely (here), many people believed that the Chinese are perfectly capable of such deception. For my part, I am just relieved that there is finally a legal issue at the Olympics to talk about.
It appears that only documentation offered on the girls was the passport issued by the Chinese government. However, reporters have found online documents that raise questions about three of the girls. Yang Yilin, a medal contender in the all-around and uneven bars, was born Aug. 26, 1993, according to the 2004, 2005 and 2006 registration lists previously posted on the Web site of the General Administration of Sport of China. That would make her only 15. However, one year before games in 2007, her birth date suddenly changed to August 26, 1992.
He Kexin and Jiang Yuyuan face similar allegations.
Many believe that this is a repeat of the fraud committed by North Korea in 1993 when Gwang Suk was found to have been listed as 15 years old for three years in a row. Romania was also found to have falsified ages for Olympic medalists.
At least one Chinese medalist admitted that her age was falsified in 2000. Yang Yun won two bronze medals and apparently was not required to give them back (which may explain the lack of deterrence on the issue).
It seems that Chinese athletes tend to be born on the first of given months.
He’s birth date is listed as Jan. 1, 1994 in the 2005, 2006 and 2007 registration lists and Jiang shows an Oct. 1, 1993, birth date.
Alternate Sui Lu also shows changes birth dates. The 2004 and 2005 registration lists include an athlete named Sui Lu who was born on April 1, 1993. In the 2006 and 2007 lists, however, the birthday is given as April 1, 1992.
There is obviously a lack of enforcement and deterrence in the area. If this trend continues, the next games will feature a zygote in the swimming competition.