The World Anti-Doping Agency on Thursday suspended the accreditation of the National Anti-Doping Laboratory in Beijing, barring the Chinese facility from carrying out WADA-related testing.
The suspension of up to four months takes effect immediately, although the laboratory has 21 days to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
It “prohibits the laboratory from carrying out any WADA-related anti-doping activities including all analyses of urine and blood samples,” WADA said in a statement.
“During the period of suspension, samples are required to be transported securely to another WADA-accredited laboratory.”
The lab needed to take “five remedial steps” highlighted by a disciplinary committee, WADA said, without identifying what those were.
“If the Beijing laboratory satisfies the Disciplinary Committee in meeting these requirements, the laboratory may apply for reinstatement prior to the expiry of the four-month suspension period,” WADA said.
The statement noted that the agency is responsible for monitoring the labs it accredits, ensuring they meet quality standards.
“Whenever a laboratory does not meet International Standard for Laboratories requirements, WADA may suspend the laboratory’s accreditation,” WADA said.
Thursday’s announcement comes after a report in Britain’s Times newspaper last month that whistleblowers in China wanted WADA to investigate an alleged coverup of five positive drugs tests involving Chinese swimmers.
World swimming governing body FINA said that it and WADA were both aware of a “small number” of cases of failed doping controls by Chinese swimmers currently being investigated by CHINADA, the WADA-recognized Chinese Anti-Doping Agency.
Last Friday, WADA revoked the accreditation of the Moscow Antidoping Center, the laboratory which had been suspended on November 10 after an independent investigation found that lab director Grigori Rodchenkov had ordered nearly 1,500 samples to be destroyed.
Rodchenkov quickly resigned amid the doping scandal that currently has Russian athletes banned from international competition by the International Association of Athletics Federations — a ban that could see Russian track and field stars sidelined from the Rio Olympics in August.