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Sports chief's visit to navy base comes under attack

By Wen Ya (Global Times)

08:48, February 21, 2012

An online post accusing an official from the country's General Administration of Sport (GAS) making use of military aircraft and vessels during a visit to the Xisha Islands went viral on Sunday. The same day, GAS raced to clarify that the visit was only to express support for soldiers posted there.

A microblogger, using the handle Hainannanhaidiaoke, wrote on Sunday that he accompanied Liu Peng, head of the GAS, on a fishing trip to the Xisha Islands during which they traveled on a military ship and flew back on a military aircraft. He also posted pictures of Liu in front of military aircraft and warships.

Located to the southeast of Hainan Province, Xisha is a base for PLA navy forces.

On Sunday, the post was forwarded thousands of times with most Web users expressing their doubts about Liu's visit.

GAS released a notice on its website Sunday, saying that Liu was accompanied by local authorities and military representatives and were in Xisha to express their support to soldiers.

Liu also brought books and audio equipment for the soldiers, the notice said. Later Sunday, the original posts about the visit were deleted and the poster apologized.

"I met him there by accident. My previous posts were untrue and I apologize for this. I'm not good at using Weibo and all the messages on my Weibo were sent by my friends," the post read. This explanation was then forwarded more than 2,000 times by Monday and stirred up even more controversy.

"Liu's activity did not violate any regulation and is suited for his position. All people can give support to PLA soldiers. It's normal and a tradition of China," Peng Guangqian, an expert with the Academy of Military Sciences, told the Global Times.

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