Chinese President Xi Jinping has declared that he “hates” doping, laying out a tough stance against cheating at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
Doping has overshadowed the Games in recent years, with Russia’s Olympic committee barred from last year’s competition in Pyeongchang because of performance-enhancing drugs.
Doping has also tainted China’s sporting record in the past decade, with some athletes stripped of Olympic medals.
Meeting with International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach in Beijing, Xi said he personally objected to doping and that China has “a clear and very strong policy” on the use of drugs in sport.
“I myself hate it,” Xi said at Thursday’s meeting, according to the official Olympic website.
“I would prefer to have clean Chinese athletes than a gold medal, or any medal at all.”
Chinese athletes who use performance-enhancing drugs will receive criminal punishments and jail terms as of this year, the official Xinhua news agency reported in December.
In 2017, a Chinese doctor told German media that there had been a systematic doping programme in China during the 1980s and 1990s across a range of sports.
Bach this week visited Beijing 2022 facilities, including the downhill skiing competition site, and said progress on venue construction was “very impressive”.
“For every venue we have visited here, we could see what the use for it would be after the Olympic Games so that the Chinese people can then really enjoy winter sports.”
Beijing hosted the 2008 Olympics and will be the first city to have staged both a Summer and Winter Games.