BEIJING, Oct. 18 - China's top sports official promised the country will strictly ban doping and assist the International Olympic Committee to host "clean" Games. 

"China will strictly ban drugs in sport and step up censor," said Liu Peng, head of the State Administration of Sport. "Athletes involved in doping will be severely penalized." 

Liu, a delegate to the week-long 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, said China pays close attention to anti-doping and has banned exhilarant in its sports law. 

Liu said his administration and all its provincial branches have signed anti-doping contracts with their athletes. 

The Chinese team to next year's Games will consist of 570 athletes, the largest ever in China's Olympic history, he said. 

China sent a 300-strong team to the Athens Games in 2004. 

In preparations for the Beijing Games, he said China is building a new testing base with a state-of-the-art lab and facilities. "Very soon we'll inaugurate a national anti-doping agency." 

During a recent visit to China, World Anti-Doping Agency chief Dick Pound confirmed the country's efforts in fighting against drugs in sport and said China "stands as a model to the world".