Page Nav



Classic Header


Breaking News:


China Trots Out 'Disappeared' Tennis Star for the Cameras - But Look Who's Lurking in the Background

  In a Nov. 2 social media post, Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai wrote that she had been sexually assaulted by a top Chinese Communist Party ...

 In a Nov. 2 social media post, Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai wrote that she had been sexually assaulted by a top Chinese Communist Party official, former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli. Twenty minutes later, the post was removed by government censors and Peng vanished without a trace for nearly three weeks.

Although Peng was well-known in China, the story of her post, its quick deletion and her subsequent disappearance thrust her name into the global spotlight. People all around the world feared for her safety.

In late November, she resurfaced on social media and retracted all the accusations she had made.

During the Winter Olympics in Beijing, China allowed her to give an interview to the French newspaper L’Equipe. Unfortunately, what ensued more closely resembled a hostage video than a traditional Q and A.

The interview was published on Monday.

According to the Daily Mail, Peng, 36, told L’Equipe she had “never said” she’d been sexually assaulted. Asked about her disappearance, she said she had “never” disappeared. It was all an “enormous understanding.”

Chinese human rights lawyer Teng Biao told the Daily Mail this interview was part of a “propaganda scheme” and Peng was “under great pressure” to make a “forced confession.” He has seen the CCP use these tactics before.

Human Rights Watch senior researcher Yaqiu Wang echoed Teng’s remarks, saying, “She can’t speak freely.”

We don’t have to take their word for it, though. The proof is contained in several photographs of Peng taken during the interview.

The mirror reflection of Peng’s government handlers can be easily spotted in several of those images.

The report said Peng was accompanied by Wang Kan, the Chinese Olympic Committee chief of staff, and an unidentified female.

This debunks China’s narrative that Peng has spoken freely about what had happened. The world suspected the CCP has tightly controlled Peng’s re-emergence into society. This photo is proof it is carefully monitoring what she says and does.

Predictably, prior to the interview, L’Equipe had to agree to certain “limits and constraints,” according to the Daily Mail.

First, questions had to be provided in advance. Additionally, the French reporters were told that “Peng would answer only in Chinese, with Mr. Wang present throughout the interview to translate.”

L’Equipe was allowed to bring its own translator.

Finally, the outlet had to “publish her answers verbatim, in a question and answer format.”

According to the Daily Mail, Peng was asked, “In the text we could see in Europe, you accused someone of sexual assault. What did you really write? We don’t understand.”

“Sexual assault? I never said anyone had sexually assaulted me in any way.”

Questioned about her disappearance, she replied, “I never disappeared. Everyone could see me.”

L’Equipe asked who deleted her social media post. She answered, “I did.”

When asked why, Peng said, “Because I wanted to.”

The interviewer pointed out that during the nearly three-week period that followed her social media post, numerous “friends and sports officials” said they’d been unable to reach her.

Peng said, “It’s just that many people, like my friends or people from the IOC messaged me, and it was simply impossible to answer so many messages. But I’ve always been in close contact with my close friends.

“I talked to them, I answered their emails, I also talked with the WTA [Women’s Tennis Association]. … But at the end of the year, the communication IT system of their website was changed and many players had difficulties logging in. But my colleagues and I always stayed in touch. That’s why I don’t know why the news I had disappeared spread.”

Peng’s replies to L’Equipe were indistinguishable from what she had told the Chinese state media in a previous interview.

The Associated Press published a partial translation of Peng’s Nov. 2 post on the Chinese social media platform Weibo.

The post was essentially an emotional letter to Zhang, a married man whom she had met in 2011 in Tianjin.

Of that time, Peng wrote: “Seven years ago, we had sexual relations once, then you were promoted to the standing committee and went to Beijing and did not contact me again.” That was a reference to his rise to the CCP’s all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee.

In the post, she recalled that in 2018, after Zhang had retired, he asked her to join him and his wife for tennis. After tennis, the couple invited her back to their home. Zhang allegedly took her to his room and pressured her into having sex. A guard stood outside the door, she said.

It’s difficult to determine the nature of their relationship. What sounds like sexual assault marked the beginning of a three-year affair, according to Peng’s post. She wrote that “after that day, I began to open up to your love.”

“Originally, I buried all this in my heart, since it didn’t seem like you would take responsibility, why would you even come find me again, take me to your house and force me and you to have sexual relations?

“Yes, I have no evidence, but there’s no way to leave any evidence. Later, you kept on denying it, but you did like me first, otherwise I wouldn’t even be able to come into contact with you.

“That afternoon [following the tennis game], I originally didn’t agree and kept on crying, and ate dinner together with you and Auntie Kang Ji [Zhang’s wife]. You said the universe is very big, the earth is just a grain of sand in the universe, and we as humans aren’t even a speck of sand. You said a lot, just to take the burden off of my mind.

“After dinner, I still didn’t want to, and you said you hated me! And you also said these seven years, you’ve never forgotten me, and you’ll be good to me, etc. etc. I was nervous and afraid (or panicked), and agreed, carrying the emotions for you from seven years ago….yes, we had sexual relations.”

So, was it sexual assault, a young woman’s heartbreak over an affair with a married man who insists on remaining married, or both?

Whatever it was, CCP officials didn’t like it. And, as we know, they’re a resourceful bunch.

No comments