Peng Shuai finally appeared in public. Why doesn’t the whole world believe that she is really safe?

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Since Friday night, a steady stream of photos and videos have appeared on Twitter, claiming that Peng is living in China with a smile in Beijing.
After an obvious promotion, Peng made a video call with Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Sunday. During this period, the three-time Olympian insisted that he was “safe and healthy. At home in Beijing” and “hope to respect her privacy,” a statement from the International Olympic Committee said.
After Peng Liyuan accused former Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli of forcing her to have sex at home on social media, she disappeared from public view for more than two weeks. – An explosive and politically sensitive allegation that triggered a full review in China.

Although Peng’s public appearance may alleviate some of the most serious concerns about her immediate safety and well-being, they have failed to quell broader concerns about her freedom, as well as increasing demands for her alleged sexual assault. The call for a full investigation.

“It is great to see Peng Shuai in the recent videos, but they have not alleviated or addressed WTA concerns about her health and her ability to communicate without censorship or coercion,” a spokesperson for the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) told CNN In a statement after Peng spoke with the International Olympic Committee.

Human rights advocates who have been following the Beijing Silent Movement for a long time also don’t believe it.

Maya Wang, a senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch (HRW), said: “Our content here is basically a state-controlled narrative: only the government and its affiliated media are producing and disseminating content about Peng’s story.”

“Although Peng may be good, the history of missing persons from the Chinese government and then producing their videos to prove that they were not harmed, when in fact it is the opposite, should make us worry about Peng’s safety,” she said. Add to.

These video clips appear to have been specially-but roughly-carefully made to show that Peng is “free” and leads a “normal” life.

In the footage released on Saturday, Peng was seen having dinner with someone who several official media reporters called him “her coach and friend.” The clip repeatedly and deliberately mentioned the date, and Peng kept nodding to the man talking next to him without speaking.

No video mentions Peng’s allegations of sexual assault against Zhang in the most vague way. Instead, they focused on her smile and obvious kindness-official media propagandists are eager to emphasize these.

WTA chairman said Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai’s new video was “not enough” to ensure her safety
“Which girl can pretend to have such a sunny smile under pressure?” Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the state-run tabloid “Global Times” asked in an interview. tweet On Sunday, at a youth tennis match in Beijing, there was a clip of Peng smiling signing a large tennis ball for children.

Hu wrote on Twitter: “Those who suspect that Peng Shuai is being coerced must be so dark in their hearts. There must be many, many forced political performances in their country.”

Like other government-controlled media in China, the Global Times did not mention Peng’s apparent disappearance, nor did it mention her allegations against Zhang.Hu was also cautious on Twitter, not mentioning the reason why Peng became the focus of everyone’s attention, but indirectly called him “Things people talk about.”

The Chinese authorities have not yet acknowledged Peng’s allegations against Zhang, and there is no indication that an investigation is ongoing. It is not clear whether Peng has reported her allegations to the police.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian reiterated at a press conference on Monday that Peng’s allegations are not a diplomatic issue and declined to comment further.

Since his retirement in 2018, Zhang has kept a low profile and faded out of public view. There is no public information on his whereabouts.

Among Chinese activists who observe closely how the government suppresses and coerces their peers, the suspicion of Peng’s happiness is particularly high.

“The reality is that they have a huge amount of control over Peng Shuai-enough for her to collaborate and become an actor,” said Lu Pin, a well-known Chinese feminist now living in New York.

“This has happened a lot in the past. Many’criminals’ who were forced to confess guilt on TV had to make their performance look real,” she said, referring to National television broadcast a series of forced confessions, Such as from Chinese human rights lawyers and Hong Kong booksellers.
Women's tennis is challenging the Chinese government-and it shows no signs of backing down

So far, the Chinese authorities have chosen not to allow Peng to appear on national television, perhaps because they realized that her appearance-even if only on its English platform-would run counter to the ongoing review of all the discussions surrounding her initial allegations. As a result, there are more domestic questions than answers in China.

Instead, Peng appeared in a 30-minute video call with an official of the International Olympic Committee, accompanied and followed closely by a Chinese sports official who was the party secretary of the Tennis Management Center of the State Sports General Administration. China’s.

Chinese state media has not reported the interview. But on its website, the International Olympic Committee released a statement and photos of the call. It did not release a complete video, nor did it explain the virtual meeting, including how to arrange it.

It seems that IOC officials have left the meeting-at least publicly-and concluded that Peng has no problems.

Emma Teho, chairman of the IOC Athletes Committee, said: “I am very pleased to see Peng Shuai behaving well. This is our biggest concern.” She took part in a video call with Chinese sports official Li Lingwei.

Analysts said that the IOC quickly concluded on Peng’s current situation and avoided mentioning allegations of sexual assault that sparked the entire controversy. Therefore, the IOC is putting its credibility at risk — and may become An accomplice in Beijing propaganda activities.

Wang from Human Rights Watch said: “The call from the International Olympic Committee will hardly alleviate our concerns about Peng’s well-being or safety.”

“In fact, it begs the question why the IOC seems to be involved in a narrative that is basically controlled by the state, because only the government and its affiliated media are allowed to tell Peng’s story.”



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