China trains Olympic athletes not to follow Hu Na's footsteps

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

China is giving its athletes political as well as athletic training for the summer Olympics in Los Angeles. But when it comes to the lesson on China's relations with America, says Li Ning, one of the country's top gymnasts and a gold-medal contender, ''We don't need it, since we know all about what is going on between us and the United States.''

The political lessons for Chinese athletes are designed to avert a repeat performance of the Hu Na episode of a year ago. Hu Na was China's top woman tennis star who was granted political asylum in the US in April 1983.

In a meeting with the press, one Chinese coach said a Hu Na-type incident ''could happen anywhere in the world.''

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China, which is sending a large team to the summer games for the first time, doesn't seem to share Moscow's concern about Olympic security.

''We don't care what the Soviet government thinks about Olympic security in the United States,'' gymnastics coach Zhang Jian said. ''As Chinese and Chinese sportsmen, we do trust the American government because the Olympics is a huge international sports meet with far-reaching influence. . . . We also trust our athletes and our coaches. I'm not worried.''

Even so, China received new security assurances after the Soviets pulled out of games, says the vice-chairman of the Chinese Olympic Committee. He admits some Chinese are concerned about security, saying there were 'certain people' who would like to sabotage the Olympics. He did not elaborate.

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