With China quickly rising to the top of the medals table in the Olympics, a British newspaper claimed that talented youngsters in the country are sent to training factories which are part of the government program where the kids, as young as six, are made to undergo brutal training regimes.
According to the Daily Mirror, the reason behind China's immense success in the Olympic events lies in atrocious training regimes that youngsters are forced to follow back home.
Swimmers, gymnasts, boxers and athletes are all products of the 500 million pounds Mandarin Machine, which is the government programme designed to churn out Olympic gold medallists and ensure China's world domination of sport, the paper said.
For the past four decades, children as young as six have been tested for size, fitness and skill as part of a national "talent identification strategy".
With a population of 1.3 billion to choose from, more than 400,000 are selected and sent to 3,000 sports schools, or boot camps, the paper added.
Here they are subjected to gruelling daily training and strict diets while some are even doped with hormone injections. And, separated from their families for weeks or months on end, they are brainwashed into believing they have one purpose only i.e. winning gold, the paper further said.
Photos posted on the internet showed tiny gymnasts weeping silently as they endured torturous stretching exercises, children being made to do handstands for 30 minutes at a time to improve balance and endurance and seven-year-old swimmers forced to do 20 chin-ups, a task beyond most fit adults," the paper added.
All schools are decorated with large Chinese flags, a reminder that pupils are national property - and signs bearing the single the word GOLD reinforce their patriotic duty, the paper concluded.