China and Britain have joined hands to fight against drugs in sport, a problem one leading Chinese official labelled as 'common' to both countries. Tu Mingde, secretary-general of the Chinese Olympic Committee, said a bilateral agreement was signed last week between the countries on major sports issues with an emphasis placed on battling drugs. 'They have a drug problem . . . we have a drug problem. It is a common problem to both countries and we have agreed to strengthen our co-operation in this field,' Tu told Sports Post yesterday. China has had sports accords with other countries before. However, this is the first time it has signed one with Britain. Xinhua said on Monday that 10 athletes had tested positive for banned substances during the eighth National Games in Shanghai last October. Among them was Xiong Qiying, who won the women's long jump gold medal with a 7.01-metre leap. Four Chinese swimmers also tested positive for steroid-masking agents at the World Championships in Australia in January. These incidents have raised speculation that China was building an East German-style sports machine fuelled by drugs. Tu, however, called drugs a 'global problem'. British sport has also been tarnished in recent times. Earlier this week, former British shot put champion Paul Edwards was banned for life for a second positive drugs test. Tu, China's top sports official, was in Britain last week as a guest of the UK Sports Council, which is headed by Howard Wells, the former chief executive of the Hong Kong Sports Development Board. Tu said the accord would nurture high-level co-operation between Britain and China and also lead to an exchange of coaches in various sports. 'While we have joined hands to fight the drugs problem, we will also exchange people and ideas,' said Tu. Wells was reported in an English newspaper as saying that the agreement was a two-way deal. 'We hope to learn as much from the Chinese as they do from us,' said Wells. 'We are not in a position to condemn any drugs situation they may have when we still have some way to go to eradicate our own problems,' he added.