Peng Shuai affair challenges central Chinese power

“Zhoumo yukuai! “ : According to a journalist from CGTN, the international version of Chinese state television CCTV, former tennis champion Peng Shuai wished a ” have a nice week end “ to his friends on WeChat, Friday evening November 19. She would have even accompanied her publication on the Chinese social network of several photos, playing with her cat, or holding a stuffed panda.

After an alleged email sent to the Tennis Players’ Association (WTA), which did not convince anyone, Chinese propaganda insists, with these photos that evoke proof of life sent by hostage takers. Again, hard to believe the authenticity of this message, broadcast from the account “Pengshuai2”, and supposedly shared by a friend of the player. Especially since neither these photos nor the email attributed to Peng Shuai two days earlier received any media coverage in China: on the other side of the great digital wall, any reference to the former champion was carefully redacted from the Web, since its publication on Weibo on November 2, in which she accused former Chinese number seven Zhang Gaoli of having raped her.

Where is Peng Shuai? If we are to believe these photos, she could be at home, probably under house arrest, and deprived of communications with the outside. According to Steve Simon, the president of the WTA, his organization has still not succeeded in establishing direct contact with the player who won the double at Roland Garros in 2014. Apart from the publications of CGTN, we are still without Peng Shuai news since November 2. Hence the campaign launched by athletes to ask for his news, with the hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai. In recent days, Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams or Novak Djokovic have spoken about it.

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Now the reactions go beyond the world of sport. Friday, November 19, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations in turn worried: “It would be important to have proof of where she is, and to know if she is okay. And we urge that a transparent investigation be conducted into his allegations of sexual assault ”, organization spokesperson Liz Throssell said on Friday. A few hours later, the Quai d’Orsay said to itself “Concerned about the lack of information on Peng Shuai’s situation”, in a statement, while the White House announced its “Deep concern”.

The courage of the WTA

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