Olympians blame police for clash

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 June, 2011, 12:00am


Controversy surrounding a clash between China's speed skating world championship team and police in the tourist town of Lijiang, Yunnan province has escalated.

One of the athletes wrote online on Tuesday that her teammates were attacked by dozens of local police officers the night before, prompting a public outcry.

'My team was beaten up in Lijiang. Is there any justice in China?' Wang Meng, four-time Winter Olympics gold medalist and captain of the team, wrote on her microblog.

The team arrived in Lijiang on Monday to relax before beginning a two-month summer training session in Kunming .

Several athletes claimed on their microblogs that they were beaten by about 30 security guards and police officers, qq.com reported.

'One person hit a team member with a baton, and the situation got out of hand,' an athlete said.Some have questioned the athletes' version of the incident after Lijiang officials said the athletes had provoked the fight.

Lijiang police said city regulations forbade loud noise after 11pm, but the athletes were still making noise on the streets at midnight. Police also said they received complaints from residents that a group of noisy drunks was causing trouble.

According to witnesses, Wang told police in English at the scene, 'You can't take us,' the Western China Metropolis Daily reported.

A report by the New Express quoted Wang as saying: 'Do you know I am a People's Congress deputy? Do you know we are world champions?'

No serious injuries were caused, another athlete, Wang Chunlu, said on Tuesday.

'There are only some slight injuries to the athletes, such as bruises. They went to hospital just for routine examinations.'