China: How old is He Kexin?

While authorities state she is of Olympic regulation age, China Digital Times‘ Xiao Qiang looks at one of several sources that put He Kexin‘s age at around fourteen.

280 comments

  • Spelunker

    Perhaps the reason so much of America’s merchandise is made in China is because the labor in Guangdong is mostly cheap underaged provincial girls who did not make the Olympic gymnastic squad. 东莞加油!

    Actually, I love China very much and am extremely happy for the recent success of its female tennis players. Zheng Jie became the first Chinese tennis player to reach the Wimbledon singles semifinals and Li Na just beat Venus Williams in the 2008 Olympic competition.
    中国加油!

    I believe that He Kexin’s passport credentials are fake and that she should be disqualified from the Olympics immediately. Let’s not wait for He Kexin to appear on Chinese television several years later like Sydney bronze medalist Yang Yun and admit in an interview that she was only 14 in 2008. 国际奥委会加油!

    I sincerely wish good luck to Liu Xiang, Li Na, Yao Ming, Wang Zhizhi and Guo Jingjing in their remaining Olympic events! 奥运加油!

  • Spelunker

    An American dentist in Colorado would like to examine the young Chinese girl’s teeth. Opening ceremony singer Yang Peiyi, you might ask?
    No, the teeth belonging to gold medal gymnast He Kexin!

    http://www.krdo.com/Global/story.asp?S=8851045

  • Peter Marchi

    whether He Kexin is 13 or 16 is the point. If she is 13 then the Chinese national team is manipulating a minor, someone who may or may not understand the punishment there body is under! She may or may not understand the consequences

  • Jon

    Im sorry people but wake up. Rules are put in place for specific reasons. The discovery that a young teens body of 12-14 years is more nimble and flexible than a young adult isn’t news by any means. If everyone else is following the rules why doesn’t China have to? We have several gymnasts here in the U.S. that perform remarkably and would have contended that gold medal, but they were not present to do so because we follow rules and regulations set in place by the IOC. The fact that China produced false documents to slip these young girls into competition is disgraceful. You can make all the baby teeth arguments you want but when multiple sources from China have multiple articles about there [14] year old hero and are suddenly taken down by the Chinese government it becomes pretty blatantly obvious. My argument is not that it was unfair to the U.S. but rather that it was unfair to everyone. If all countries were allowed to use anyone they desired regardless of the age limit then we surely would have seen different results across the board in the gymnastics race. Would the U.S be on top? Would the gold have gone to Germany? Wether the age limit should be there or not is a moot point… Its the fact that if everyone has equal rules and regulations to follow isn’t it only fair that every one abides by them? Wether it should be in place or not, the point is that it is there and there for a reason. Nobody is exempt and if you don’t follow these specific rules, then you should either not be allowed to compete or be disqualified period.

  • Mac

    To Califigga, I agree with Tina. Your most likely one of those hypenated-Americans. You’re either an American or not! It’s not He Kexin’s fault that the Chinese fixed her papers, if they did! Let the IOC handle it and it will get resolved.

  • Ice Goddess

    It’s not even about the medals. I am an american and I am just very concerned for the girls’ if they are under 16. The legal age was raised to 16 for a very good reason. The torture they are putting the bodies through can be devastating if they are younger than 16. They’re at a very vulnerable stage in their development and too much stress could compromise their futures. Their government needs to think about these little girls and not their athletic reputation.

  • CPiv

    The fact that the IOC doesn’t want to investigate this means there are serious politics involved. By that I mean they don’t wnat to throw accusations agaisnt the host country of the Olympics. Perhaps they’re waiting for after the Olympics are over to launch an investigation. There’s a reason they set the age requirement at 16, because bones and muscles aren’t finshed developing at ages like 13 and 14 and can cause problems for these girls bodies later on in life. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some of the Chinese gymnasts were underage seeing as this is a country that had no problem having children working in sweat shops. IF they do investiage and are found to have underage girls on their team, the team gold as well as all individual medals of the illegal participants should be stripped. It’s only fair and maybe sends a message to China for the next Olympics that cheating will not be tolerated. .

  • Yan Lin

    Its the integrity of the olympics at stake.

    Too much has gone on already, such as the judges being bribed and what not.

    Its going to get to a point where no one wants to watch anymore because it doesnt matter who wins.

  • Richard

    Let’s see. How is it possible to fake a passport and birth certificate in a country where the government is Communist and controls the process and is using “Project 119” to win more medals? Pretty easily seeing as how we can fake passports and birth certificates here in the US where the process is more closely monitored.

    I think a lot of people are naive here int he US where Pro sports are more important than medals. China’s own Chengdu Sports Bureau has reported her birth date as January 1, 1994 as well as a report on Chinese television months before that she was only going to be 14 at the Olympics. NBC played the clip after one of the swimming finals the other night.

  • Alan

    Re previous poster Wei’s comments. How about, Chinese population : Canadian population ? Mmm, according to that ratio, China should have hundreds of gold medals. And of course, why would anyone suspect China of doctoring any documents after their unblemished
    record of honesty in recent years, such as a plethora of dubious ‘world records’ in the sporting world, not to mention their computer-generated firework display and the Incredible Miming Girl at the opening ceremony?

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »

Guidelines

  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices!

Submitted addresses will be confirmed by email, and used only to keep you up to date about Global Voices and our mission. See our Privacy Policy for details.

Newsletter powered by Mailchimp (Privacy Policy and Terms).

* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site