Where is Peng Shuai?Women’s tennis faces Chinese censorship

The confrontation between feminism and authoritarianism in China has evolved into a broader sports and human rights duel because the tennis industry has expressed support for Chinese player Peng Shuai. Accused a Communist leader of sexual abuse And disappeared from public view.

This is a case involving the most sensitive topic in China: the abuse of power by the Communist Party leader. At the same time, Beijing is preparing to host the Winter Olympics in February, and the international community has called for a boycott of China’s human rights violations.

Peng, 35 years old-was the number one player in the world in doubles, Wimbledon and French Open champions What is commendable is that she accused Zhang Gaoli, the 75-year-old former deputy prime minister, of putting pressure on her when he was the party secretary of Tianjin (a port city near Beijing) 10 years ago, and that he once again used her when he retired three years ago. Pressure. Peng wrote on Weibo on November 2 that Zhang was forcing himself in the bedroom while his wife was guarding outside and was deleted by the censor within half an hour.

“In the beginning I disagreed. …I kept crying. …I said yes because I was scared,” Peng wrote. She had no evidence that Zhang was attacked because his power was overwhelming-“This world is a plaything for you,” she said-and he prevented her from recording anything. But she wanted to talk.

“I have no recordings, no videos, only the real experience of my distorted self. I know your majestic Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, and say you are not afraid,” she said. “But even if I crack like an egg on a rock, and a moth destroys itself in the flames, I will tell the truth about you.”

Since then, no news of Peng has been heard publicly-until Thursday morning, the Chinese national channel CGTN Tweet The screenshot it said was an email from her. “Hello everyone, this is Peng Shuai,” it said. “I am not missing, nor insecure. I just rested at home and everything is fine.”

It added that the allegations of sexual assault against Zhang were “untrue” and any further information about Peng should be released with her consent.

CGTN claimed that this picture was an email sent by Peng to the Women’s Tennis Association. Chairman and CEO Steve Simon. It did not explain why the official media had such screenshots, or why the mouse cursor is still visible in the text.It has not yet released screenshots on the Chinese Internet, Peng and all posts surrounding her allegations have been deleted, and Where Twitter itself is still banned.

The so-called e-mail is published in WTA statement Supporting Peng earlier this week increased the pressure on the Chinese authorities.

“Peng Shuai and all women should be heard, not censored,” WTA said. “In all societies, she claims that the actions that occur need to be investigated, not to be forgiven or ignored. We commend Peng Shuai for his extraordinary courage and strength to come forward.”

Simon told the New York Times earlier this week that the WTA will be preparing to withdraw from China-where there are 11 games and a ten-year agreement to host the tour finals in the southern city of Shenzhen-if it does not see proper survey.

He said he has received confirmation from the Chinese Tennis Association. Peng is safe and has not been threatened personally, but she cannot be contacted directly for confirmation.

“The WTA issue is about potential sexual assault by one of our players. This is something that cannot be compromised,” he said.

Tennis star Osaka Naomi tweeted on Wednesday: “A review at all costs, I hope Peng Shuai and her family are safe. I am shocked by the current situation and I am passing on love and light to her. #whereispengshuai”

Tennis player Peng Shuai stretches his forehand

Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai hits a forehand at the 2020 Australian Open.

(Andy Brown Beer/Associated Press)

After Osaka’s tweet, thanks to her on Weibo, Peng’s comment was also deleted.

“I don’t know what to say except to pray for her safety,” a comment on Weibo was quickly deleted. “We have accepted the fact that this incident will disappear on the Internet. Posts will disappear, accounts will disappear, justice will disappear, laws will disappear, only the victim and the pain of torturing her will not disappear. Only the next victim’s Fear will not go away.”

CGTN’s tweets did not reassure those who were worried about her, but instead aggravated their concerns about Peng An’an.

“I can hardly believe that Peng Shuai actually wrote the emails we received, or believed it was attributed to her,” Simon said in a statement. New statement On Thursday, he added that he still could not reach Peng. He said that the WTA requires “independent and verifiable evidence” to prove her safety and conduct a transparent investigation of her allegations of assault.

China often uses access to its lucrative market as a bargaining chip to review industries seeking to enter China, including professional sports. Recently, in 2019, The NBA is strongly opposed and resisted by nationalism After Houston Rockets head coach Daryl Morey tweeted in support of the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, in China.

The NBA then kept a distance from Morey’s remarks and issued an apology on Weibo for the “improper” remarks that “seriously hurt the feelings of Chinese fans”. Morey deleted his tweet. An NBA spokesperson later distanced the organization from the Weibo statement, saying that the Chinese version was an “explanation” and the official English statement expressed “regret” rather than an apology.

Many leaders in sports and Hollywood, Fashion and other cultural departments try to gain China’s favor by keeping silent on sensitive issues.

Women’s tennis rarely broke this silence, but did the opposite: pressure China to prove the safety and freedom of a Chinese player who crossed the political red line, even if it lost the Chinese market.

Lu Ping, a well-known Chinese feminist activist now living in the United States, said that CGTN’s e-mails show that international attention has exerted “enormous pressure” on the Chinese government.

“The question is what else can be done to make progress in saving Peng Shuai,” she said. If attention is removed from Peng, she will fall into “darkness,” Lu said, “This is exactly what the Chinese government wants to see.”

Peng’s case illustrates the strength of both parties #MeToo and the feminist movement Lu said that in China and the dangers they face are increasing.Many feminists and LGBTQ groups in China Have their social media accounts Deleted this year. Some Chinese feminists have also been detained.

The independent journalist Huang Xueqin who reported on China’s first #MeToo cases was detained on the way to Guangzhou Airport last month. She was charged with “inciting subversion of state power.”

Last year, after the two publicly condemned the Communist Party, Chinese football player Hao Haidong was removed from the Chinese Internet along with his wife and former badminton champion Ye Zhaoying. But before they spoke, they had left the country and moved to Spain.

Although Peng’s post was less politicized and focused more on personal attacks, it was published while she was still in China.

Wang Yaqiu, a senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch, said this puts her in great danger. She said the Chinese government has a history of “disappearing” critics and forcing them to confess guilt.

In 2015, five Hong Kong booksellers selling books including gossip Communist leaders were secretly detained in China.At least one sent letter During his detention, he informed his family that he had traveled to mainland China voluntarily. “I am in great condition now, everything is fine,” he wrote.

Peng’s case shows that “athletes, no matter how prominent they are, are like anyone else in the country: they are a whim of the irresponsible power of the Chinese government,” Wang said. “No one is safe.”

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