- Tennis Where is Peng Shuai? The disappearance of the tennis player who accused a former Chinese vice premier of rape
“I know I can’t say it clearly and it’s useless to say it. But I want to say it anyway. I’m a hypocrite. I admit I’m not a good girl.” Peng Shuai (35 years old) began with this paragraph the letter that he published on Weibo, the Chinese Twitter, on November 2. It barely stayed online for 35 minutes before it was censored.
After the first thought, the Chinese tennis star turned to address what happened three years ago when a match ended on the court of a hotel in Beijing with Zhang Gaoli (75 years old), former deputy prime minister who had just retired.
“After I finished playing, you and your wife Kang Jie took me to their house. I had dinner with you and Kang. You took me to your room and, as happened in Tianjin more than ten years ago, do you want to have sex with me. I was very scared that afternoon, I did not expect things to be like this. “
The tennis player says she had already had sex with Zhang before he was promoted in 2014 to the Standing Committee of the Politbur, the highest governing body. “He never contacted me again.” Until the day of the tennis match in 2018. Peng had not only been the mistress of one of the most powerful political leaders in China. In his letter he talks about love, about the unfulfilled promise of a future life as a couple and implies that it was a relationship consented to by the politician’s wife.
“I had buried it all inside me. Why did you come looking for me again? You took me home and forced me to have sex. I have no proof and it will be impossible for me to keep any evidence. You said that in those seven years you never forgot me and that you would treat me well. You said much more than that, and the purpose was basically to persuade me to lower my guard (…) You denied everything afterwards. That afternoon I originally did not consent and cried all the time. “
Peng describes how her emotions grew stronger and stronger towards Zhang. “You told me that you loved me, that you hope that in the next life we can meet, but that in your position it is impossible to divorce. At first everything was fine, but as time passed, things gradually began to change. There was so much injustice. and humiliation. Every time you ask me to come to your house, behind your back your wife told me so many ugly and hurtful things. All kinds of teasing. Since the first day I met you, I have never used a penny of your money, nor have I used you for any profit. “
In your post, the tennis player assures that their relationship ended after a great discussion on the night of October 30. Although they had arranged to speak on November 2 at the former politician’s house. “Today at noon you called to say you’re busy. And so, you disappeared again, like seven years ago. You played with me.” That same day he posted his letter on Weibo.
No one has seen Peng Shuai since she blurted out that a former leader of the Chinese Communist Party had sexually abused her. Every day there are more voices within the world of tennis that are added to show their concern about the whereabouts of the Chinese tennis player. The hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai has been one of the most shared this week on Twitter. From Serena Williams, Naomi osaka or Novak Djokovic, even the footballer Gerard piqu.
Since last week the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has pressuring China to confirm Peng’s situation and investigate their allegations, including threatening to withdraw their lucrative business from the country if such measures are not taken. “We are ready to pull out of our business and deal with all the complications that come with it,” said Steve Simon, the WTA director, in an interview Thursday with CNN.
This Saturday, Dick Pound, a senior member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), assured Reuters that the growing concern for the safety of the Chinese tennis player could push the body to “take a hard line” against Beijing, which is finalizing preparations to host the Winter Olympics next February.
Until the government of The United States and the UN came to Peng’s defense. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday that Chinese authorities should “provide independent and verifiable evidence of his whereabouts and that he is safe.”
Liz Throssell, a spokeswoman for the UN human rights office in Geneva, called for “a fully transparent investigation” into the sexual assault charge. “What we will say is that it would be important to have proof of their whereabouts and well-being, and we urge that a full transparency investigation be carried out into their allegations,” Throssell said.
Peng’s is not the first complaint of its kind within the silenced MeToo movement. But until now he had never splashed on someone who was part of the political elite of the second world power. Neither the complainant was a high-level athlete who has won Wimbledon and Roland Garros doubles and was the first Chinese tennis player to reach number one in that category.
Doubts about an alleged email from you
China has so-called “residential surveillance in a designated place,” the RSDL, an extrajudicial prison system introduced in 2012 that allows police to isolate people accused of endangering national security or even “causing trouble.” term that they can legally use to silence critics, excluding lawyers from the process. It is a black hole that many activists have passed through.
That Peng was detained under the RSDL was one of the rumors that began to spread in the face of silence from within China. But silence was broken on Wednesday with a email that the state chain CGTN published on its website and that it was supposedly written by Peng.
“I am not lost or insecure. I have just been resting at home and everything is fine”, it was possible to read in an email that many have questioned that it is the work of the tennis player herself, starting with the director of the WTA, Steve Simon . “I find it hard to believe that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email. I have repeatedly tried to communicate with her through numerous forms of communication, without success, “Simon blurted out.
The next move from China was on Friday night, when a journalist from the CGTN chain, controlled by the Chinese government, posted on Twitter several screenshots of some photos that the tennis player had allegedly just sent to a friend on WeChat, the Chinese WhatsApp, wishing you a “happy weekend”. That did not serve to curb skepticism.
Both analysts, international media, and the WTA say that no one has been able to corroborate the authenticity of those photos were made on Friday or that the tennis player had not sent them under some kind of coercion. According to the latest editorial in the Global Times, the Communist Party’s loudest English-language propaganda channel, Peng will “soon” speak in public.
Reference from elmundo