Joey Cheek, 2006 Olympic gold medalist and co-founder of Team Darfur, has been denied entry to China for the 2008 Olympic Games.
Joey, who has also contributed to this blog, had been granted an entry visa to attend the games and support Team Darfur, an international coalition of Olympic athletes helping to raise awareness about the Darfur genocide. Last night, however, the Chinese government revoked the visa.
According to the Washington Post (registration required):
A Chinese official informed Cheek that it was not necessary to give a reason for revoking his visa less than 24 hours before he was scheduled to fly from Washington to Beijing.
In a statement published on the LA Times web site, Cheek said:
I am saddened not to be able to attend the Games. The Olympic Games represent something powerful: that people can come together from around the world and do things that no one thought were possible. However, the denial of my visa is a part of a systemic effort by the Chinese government to coerce and threaten athletes who are speaking out on behalf of the innocent people of Darfur.