What tennis star Peng Shuai’s latest sighting reveals about China | Opinion – To the world

Here is the crime committed by tennis champion Peng Shuai that angered the Chinese government so much that it cut off her voice and censored any mention of her sexual assault allegations against a senior Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Shuai was guilty of expecting the #MeToo movement, which began with an African American woman from the Bronx and then grew into an international outcry to be encircled in Beijing.

She was guilty of believing that she too could step forward and bring a serious sexual assault charge against a powerful man and that she could be believed.

The CCP thought differently, and what followed was Shuai’s disappearance and an outcry from the international tennis community, followed by public appearances and Shuai withdrawing their original allegations.

In early November, Shuai, a Wimbledon champion in doubles, wrote a burning post on her verified account. She accused former Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli, now 75, of pushing her into a sexual relationship.

In less than half an hour, the post from Weibo, the Chinese Twitter, was removed. No one saw or heard Shuai for the next two weeks.

The sport is once again the evaluation tool for more than athletics. This is about humanitarian concerns. And so Shuai’s story deserves exploration beyond her sexual assault allegation.

Think of their censorship as an entry point, a starting point to understanding the intricate geopolitical landscape of US-China relations.

Concern for the Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic groups in the Xinjiang region of China is paramount. What is happening there has even been labeled genocide by human rights organizations. Group rape, forced labor, and re-education are among the alleged abuses. China rejects these allegations. But independent reporting by some of the best journalists in the world finds something else. We should repeat this point. China simply denies these allegations. Just as they are likely to urge Shuai to deny their own. Another topic, but the same way.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom came back on China the same week, when Shuai made another of her likely heavily orchestrated performances that cast doubt on her sexual assault allegations.

The leadership of the commission has been sanctioned by the Chinese government in response to pressure on the humanitarian situation in China.

It was part of the convincing delegations that led President Joe Biden to diplomatically boycott the Beijing 2022 Olympics, due to begin February 4th. The POTUS decision is clearly not as weighted as a full strike, but it sends a message and damages the ego of China.

The boycott also points back to sport and the fact that athletics has always been linked to larger issues of fairness and human dignity.

After Shuai made her allegation in November, alarms first spread in international tennis circles, led by the Women’s Tennis Association. The WTA has been preeminent and unwavering in its concerns for their wellbeing. The association continues to call for a thorough, independent investigation and a credible, uncensored or otherwise orchestrated update from Shuai himself.

She has also taken the perhaps even more important step: the WTA has suspended its tennis tournaments in China, including Hong Kong.

On December 19, Shuai interviewed China-controlled media outlets and said, “I’ve been very free the whole time.” In her remarks to a Singapore-based Chinese-language newspaper, she said the uproar was a major misunderstanding.

Then she went further, as the New York Times reported, saying, “First I want to emphasize one very important point – I never said or wrote that anyone sexually abused me.”

That’s a lie. The proof is in the captured screenshots of their original post.

Her first story followed a now familiar trajectory of similar allegations. She admitted having an affair with the married Gaoli. But said their out and in romance was initially enforced.

If that’s true, it’s Monica Lewinsky, enlarged. The difference in power between perpetrator and survivor is massive here. The Communist Party’s leadership, along with its control over the population, would be difficult for most North Americans to understand. But it was found that it would have been difficult for Shuai to deny a high-ranking member of the CCP if he had been pressured. There are also deep cultural problems with the infidelity and image building of the communist leadership.

Aside from the obvious concerns for Shuai’s welfare, there is also a point for those who insist that athletes and the organizations that manage them “stay on track,” or to put it bluntly, shut up and dribble.

Unfortunately, Shuai is not a media figure tall enough to grab the attention of the masses. In the singles world rankings she was 14th at times. And her top performances were in doubles, which rarely attracted the same attention.

Even so, her personal story prior to this incident shows that she is a bit of a letter opener. It was open once before.

Shuai deserves support, at least until her questionable statements and strange sightings can be offset.

In military and economic action, it has taken on one of the most powerful governments in the world, or at least one that wants to become a superpower. China needs to align its humanitarian record with its other ambitious goals.

And if a 35-year-old tennis master can help get it there, report me as a Shuai fan and ally.



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