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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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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.

"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference

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