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A variety of screenshots provided by Stryde Hax, allegedly proving gymast He Kexin to be two years underage to participate in the 2008 Olympics.  (Source: Stryde Hax)
Proving once again that search engines can be some of the greatest hacking tools on the internet

A clever search engine hacker says he’s located primary source documents, provided by the Chinese government, that contain proof of an age-related cover-up on behalf of the Chinese women’s gymnastics team.

Working under the pseudonym “Stryde Hax” and posting to his blog, he says he was able to download spreadsheets previously deleted by the Chinese government by pulling up a cached copy stored on Chinese search-engine Baidu.

Stryde’s Blogger profile describes him as a consultant for security firm Intrepidus Group, and says he spends his spare time “[finding] things on web servers that were never meant to be found.”

His efforts focused specifically on gold-medal winning gymnast He Kexin, whose age is widely reported to be 16 years old. He’s passport lists her date of birth to be January 1, 1992 – however reports from a variety of news sources, including Chinese English-language newspaper China Daily, previously showed her birthday to be January 1, 1994, placing her age at a disqualifying 14 years old. (Many of the original reports allegedly disappeared soon after the scandal initially broke out.)

In order to participate, Olympic gymnasts must be at least 16 years old. The sport has a long history of contestants misrepresenting their age in order to participate in senior-level competitions.

Stryde says the documents he located were originally stored on web servers for the General Administration of Sport of China, however they appear to have been removed after a similar – largely unnoticed – story ran last July in the New York Times. Running a specially constructed search query against Google yielded a handful of results that ended up going nowhere, and Google’s cached data revealed what appeared to him as doctored or missing information. Running the same query against Baidu, however, netted another set of results that, like Google, went nowhere – but unlike Google, contained cached information clearly showing He with a birthday of January 1, 1994.

In response to his calls for urgency – not to mention front page exposure on Slashdot and Digg – Stryde says he’s been overwhelmed with support from readers, many who decided to mirror the spreadsheets on their own before they disappeared off of the web completely.

Of particular interest is a machine-translated version of his findings, which clearly state:

799, BB He Kexin CC female AA 1994.1.01 Beijing and
Beijing Beijing Municipal Sports Bureau, First Note

Regardless of the authenticity of Stryde’s findings – a handful of commenters dispute his claims – it’s possible that should his evidence either prove to be conclusive, or lead to the introduction of even more definitive evidence, then the 2008 Chinese gymnastics scandal could be the next in line to be felled by a relatively new phenomenon called “crowdsourcing,” or tapping into the collective knowledge of the internet. A similar phenomenon may have hastened the retirement of CBS news anchor Dan Rather, who once presented evidence of a story on air that the blogosphere later proved to be false.

At the time of this writing, the cached documents still appear to be online at Baidu.

Update 08/21/2008: Stryde's findings appear to have been the catalyst for a newly-opened, official IOC investigation into He Kexin's age.

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Chinese Attitude
By akugami on 8/21/2008 4:08:44 PM , Rating: 2

I think these few articles will give a better understanding of how Chinese think and feel. China is a country rich in culture and one of the ancient cradles of civilization. One of the main things that Westerners (Caucasians) do not understand is that for many in China, there is a resentment of how countries like Britain treated it that still resides within the heart of the people today. Especially since the Chinese consider China one of the greatest countries and that it has been wronged by many injustices done to it by the west.

This shapes the attitudes of the people of China today. There is a lot of national pride and many in China have a very hard work ethic. Working ten hours a day for six days a week is not an uncommon sight even for many Chinese living in America or other countries today. They chose to work this hard. They want to better themselves wherever they are and they want to make sure the world recognizes China as a major power and force to be reckoned with.

I'm not saying some of the stuff China has done to other countries and to its own people is right. However, as an American citizen of Chinese descent, I understand it.

I understand how it can lead to acts such as breaking the rules when possible in order to get ahead. I'm not going to say that China did break the age rules and the evidence is flimsy at best though it does point to the possibility. One thing most need to understand is that Asians for the most part look younger than they really are. Heck, at the age of 30 I still have a lot of people who think I'm 20. And the one Japanese girl I actually saw in the gymnastic competitions looked just as young as the Chinese girls.

*Side Rant. I fooking hate NBC's coverage of the Olympics.

RE: Chinese Attitude
By FITCamaro on 8/21/2008 4:52:25 PM , Rating: 2
I understand how it can lead to acts such as breaking the rules when possible in order to get ahead.

So then many blacks are justified in their racism against whites because they were wronged in the past? And we should give them jobs or admission into college through affirmative action because of those wrongs?

That's basically what you're saying.

RE: Chinese Attitude
By akugami on 8/21/2008 6:44:24 PM , Rating: 2
Nowhere was I condoning the actions and if it came off that way I apoligize. I was merely saying I understand why it happened and the links I pointed to was a very small bit of reading that may help others understand why the infractions happened. Understanding and condoning are two entirely different things. I thought it would give a better perspective on the Chinese instead of falling into typical stereotypes about the Chinese.

One of the links I pointed to specifically showed Chinese in a bad light with racism targeted against Africans. It was an intentional link. I am not trying to show the Chinese as anything other than human. They have their pride in their race and country and it is tempered with indignation over injustices done to it in the past. Which is partially the reason why it acts the way it does today. I am not condoning anything, merely pointing out something that may be of interest.

I myself have felt racism from black people here in the US. While this is not the case with the majority of black people, some of the more vocal ones are quick to point out any injustices done to him or her as racism and yet these are the same persons who will launch racial slurs against whites and other races or ethnic groups. I have been called racial slurs from blacks such as "chink" and "ching-chong" as well as endured imitations of Bruce Lee's calls when he is fighting. I have also met some very very friendly black people. There are always racists and idiots in every race or ethnic group but there are also good people in each as well.

The International Olympic Committee is launching an official investigation. My hunch is they won't find anything because it's kinda hard to find official documentation of a person that that person's government doesn't want you to find. The reason is that all official documents pertaining to that person is issued by that very same government. And no, some spreadsheet found in an internet search engine's cache will not cut it. It's like asking the US government to hand over documents pertaining to the identity of someone in it's witness protection program. Good luck finding anything useful.

RE: Chinese Attitude
By LTG on 8/25/2008 8:59:59 PM , Rating: 2
Your posts were well thought out and appreciated.

One of the most difficult things for humans to do is understand perspectives that are highly different than their own.

I'm not (even close) to Asian but your reasoning seems to make sense.

I can agree with you without "condoning" or even mitigating whatever cheating is ever proven out.

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

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