China Revokes Visa of Olympic Gold Medalist

Joey Cheek, currently a Princeton student, says he was targeted for his Darfur activism.

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The Chinese government revoked yesterday the visa of Joey Cheek, an Olympic gold-medal speed skater and Princeton student, the Princetonia n reports. Cheek believes he was targeted because he founded Team Darfur, an organization made up of Olympic athletes trying to draw attention to violence in Sudan, a major supplier of oil to the Chinese.

According to Cheek, at least a half-dozen other Team Darfur members who planned to travel to the Olympics also have been targeted by the government for their activism. The White House has taken notice, and spokeswoman Dana Perino said to reporters on Air Force One today:

We were disturbed to learn that the Chinese had refused his visa. We are taking the matter very seriously. We have sent in our embassy in Beijing to démarche the Chinese. That is where we go in and we say we are concerned about this, and we want you to reconsider your actions. So we would hope that they would change their mind.