On August 18, Liu Xiang, one of China’s greatest hopes for winning a gold medal had to withdraw from the Olympics due to his foot injury, reported Xinhua. His abrupt departure from the 110 meter hurdles surprised Chinese who had high expectations of his winning gold medals as he did at the 2004 Olympics. According to a poll, 49% understand and want him to move on. 40% regret his action and would have preferred that he continued with the competition. Many have voiced claims that Liu’s action was ordered by the Chinese authorities to save face because Liu could not win. Sources say on August 19, the Chinese Communist Party Propaganda Department issued a mandate that all media must follow the official explanation.
Chinese News, August 18, 2008
Epoch Times, August 20, 2008