One of the world's top male players, 2004 Olympic singles champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia, called the situation a "circus match."
China's Lin Dan, the Olympic men's champion in singles, said through an interpreter the sport is going to be damaged.
"Especially for the audience," he said before the disqualifications were announced. "This is definitely not within the Olympic spirit. But like I said before, it's not one-sided. Whoever sets the rule should make it knockout so whoever doesn't try will just leave the Olympics."
Beijing badminton silver medalist Gail Emms said the matches were embarrassing to watch.
"It was absolutely shocking," she said. "The crowds were booing and chanting 'Off, off, off.'"
AP Sports Writers Stephen Wilson and Gerald Imray contributed to this report.