China vow to stamp out online drug sales

By Barry Malone (Xinhua)
Updated: 2007-08-29 23:36

Chinese officials on Wednesday pledged to crack down on the sale of illegal performance-enhancing drugs on the Internet.

"Trading non-prescription medicine on the Internet is illegal in China and all the prohibited substances listed in the WADA code belong to non-prescription medicine," Spokeswoman for the China's State Food and Drug Administration Yan Jianying told a press conference.

"If any website is found to trade such prohibited drugs, they will be shut down immediately and severely punished."

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president Dick Pound labelled China an "exporter" of performance enhancing drugs during a visit last year and urged the hosts of the 2008 Olympic Games to crack down on illegal online sales.

Yan also said the authorities would launch a campaign to clean local medicine markets in Beijing and other Olympic co-host cities of banned substances.

Jiang Zhixue, head of the Chinese Olympic Commission Anti-Doping Commission, said at the same press conference that an independent body would be launched next month to oversee nationwide anti-doping work.

"It will further strengthen China's anti-doping efforts," he said.

China was tainted with a string of doping scandals in sport in the 1990s, but since then stepped up efforts to fight against drugs. The number of dope tests totalled 9,424 last year and is expected to be more than 10,000 this year, according to Jiang.

"The positive ratio has been declining," Jiang said. "The positive samples cover only 0.4 percent now, compared with 1.82 percent in 1990."

Chinese sports officials have been repeatedly saying that they would rather win no gold medals than have one positive test at next year's Olympics.

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