So, where are they? When I asked one person more in the know than me, the response was: "Busy scraping the bellies of caterpillars".
Good one! And probably more close to the mark than one would like to think. We know that modern sport is rife with drugs cheats as evidenced by the Balco scandal and the recent Congressional report into US baseball.
A commonsense practice of avoidance that would work to perfection in an authoritarian state is to closet its athletes within its borders where a carefully monitored drugs regime can be administered without fear of detection or disruption. Come the Olympics, the athlete can be carefully dried out just in time to ensure the athlete is clean while still benefiting from all of the benefits of modern performance enhacing drugs. Another means of cheating that can be perfected is the devleopment of designer drugs, al la conte fashion, and to experiment and trial these so that, come competition day, they are sure that such drugs are effective while being undetectable.
Sure, we can not know for certain what the Chinese are up to; but past experience with the sudden emergence (and disappearance) of freak Chinese athletes does make one wonder what is going on.
I have a diminishing interest in watching competitions that are of dubious integrity.
For more about this read these articles:
SWIMMING; Chinese Swimmers Win With Drugs, U.S. Team Leader Charges
China has emerged as the leading supplier of illicit steroids and HGH