Sigh...I don't think any of you are thinking on the right path. Cai Yun is a damn experienced player and has influenced the Chinese team in quite a lot of major decisions. Cai Yun could clearly pair with Boe if he wanted to, but I think he doesn't. Having Boe gain Cai's knowledge would hurt China's chances at the Olympics as Boe/Mo is still one of the top combinations. It seems obvious to me the act of Cai Yun 'asking' CBA is a politically correct way of saying no without offending Boe personally. Cai Yun could have just said yes if he wanted to. CBA now understands why permission was asked and could then say no. Compare this to a case where the general asks for permission to fight on the battlefield. A general on the field has the right to disregard orders from the emperor. Asking is pretty much a sign indicating he does not want to fight, and the correct decision by the emperor is reject the order. Don't know if this makes any sense to any of you westerners, but this seems like basic tactical politics to me.