Peng Shuai is a Chinese professional tennis player. In 2014, she became the first Chinese tennis player to receive a number-one ranked doubles player by the World Tennis Association. In 2011, she was ranked 11 for singles play. As a doubles player, she’s won Wimbledon and the French Open. She got as far as the semi-finals as a singles player at the US Open. And now, she has accused the Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexually assaulting her. Then, she disappeared.
China is an oppressive capitalist communist government that’s controlled by one man. Shuai posted the allegation on Weibo, a Chinese microblogging platform. Within minutes, the post had disappeared.
Beijing is hosting the Winter Olympics this year. In case you’re a Republican, Beijing is in China. They are now deflecting and suppressing all information over this to avoid a scandal before the Olympics. China is telling the world there’s nothing to see here, which works in China but not the world…except those who have corporate deals in China.
When western media asked about Peng’s whereabouts, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said, “I have not heard of the issue you raised. This is not a diplomatic question”. When a different spokesperson was asked at another press conference, he said the reporter should contact the “relevant department.” The editor of a government-owned and controlled tabloid, the Global Times, wrote, “As a person who is familiar with the Chinese system, I don’t believe Peng Shuai has received retaliation and repression speculated by foreign media for the thing people talked about”.
When CNN reported on the issue last night, its broadcast in China went to a test screen.
The chief executive of the WTA, Steve Simon, called upon the Chinese government to come clean and stop the censorship on the subject. The Chinese Tennis Association said Peng Shuai was just fine and everyone should take their word for it.
Fellow tennis players, Novak Djokovic, Billie Jean King, Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, Andy Murray, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal have all expressed support for Peng Shuai and called for an end to censorship in China.
The Chinese state-run media released an email they claim was written by Peng Shuai stating she was at home, wasn’t missing, and her allegations were all lies. The government then released photos of her with her cat, stuffed animals, and attending a charity event. She was smiling in each photo. The Global Times editor posted on social media, “”Can any girl fake such sunny smile under pressure? Those who suspect Peng Shuai is under duress, how dark they must be inside. There must be many, many forced political performances in their countries.” In this country, only Republicans afraid of upsetting Donald Trump.
The Chinese government had Peng Shuai talk to the International Olympic Committee in a video call where she said she was “safe and well.” The IOC bought it.
The thing is, while the WTA, the ATP, and a bunch of tennis players continue to call this out, the IOC doesn’t want to upset China as it’s big money for them. Sponsors of the upcoming Olympics, as well as other sports leagues, don’t want to upset this communist revenue source. Sponsors of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Airbnb, Bridgestone, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Toyota, Visa, and many more, have all refused comment on the Peng Shuai situation. They know China would be willing to cut them off just like they cut of CNN and the Houston Rockers.
When Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted in support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong in 2019, China shut off the airing of all Rockets games in that nation. The NBA went groveling to China, apologized, and had Morey apologize. China was able to bully an American on American soil.
And it was in America where the sexual assault of hundreds of gymnasts was covered up. The sexual assaults committed by Larry Nassar were covered up by USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic Committee, Michigan State, and even the FBI.
While China protected one man after an accusation by one female, the United States protected one man after accusations from 368 gymnasts. When China goes to cover up a sexual assault by one man, the United States said, “Me too.”
The #MeToo movement is trying to gain some traction in China, while it’s not 100 percent successful in the United States. The Chinese government is refusing to investigate Peng Shuai’s allegations just like the FBI took those from Simone Biles and others and shoved them in a desk drawer and closed it.
We are a much more open country than China. We have press freedom. We have more than one political party…for now. We have free elections…for now. But we know that if government agencies and other institutions can get away with suppressing sexual assault accusations, and oppressing women, they’ll do it.
We need to call for an end to China’s oppression…and that of the United States.
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