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Emmy Griffin / February 9, 2022

Chinese Tennis Star and Rape Victim Canceled

Peng Shuai is “retiring” from tennis and also further whitewashing her #MeToo imbroglio.

In an interview with French magazine L'Equipe, Peng Shuai shared the news that she is ostensibly retiring from professional tennis. The timing could not be more suspicious.

In Early November, Peng Shuai published a post on her social media that accused former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault. The post was heart-rending and clearly a cry for help. Peng presumably knew that posting this accusation was tantamount to a suicide mission. She did, in fact, disappear from the public eye for weeks. The world rallied around her, especially her Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) friends and colleagues. #WhereisPengShuai became an international movement. Her supporters made shirts and even wore them to the Australian Open. Inevitably, those activists were kicked out because it might offend other attendees.

When Peng did reappear, it was in staged videos and photos. She made contact with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) twice to recant her post and voice her regret for the controversy. Both times there was a menacing CCP member in the background. It was obvious enough that coercion was going on that the WTA pulled all of its tournaments from China and Hong Kong. All of this has culminated in her “retirement” announcement and one more official recanting of her allegations calling them a “misunderstanding.”

She is now claiming that she never disappeared, that she was well, that the assault never happened, and that she regrets this has become such a worldwide controversy. The only statement that is remotely believable is the last one because you better believe that the CCP has thoroughly made her regret speaking out. The Chinese government is not above torture and coercion to force its citizens to do what it wants — ergo, whatever Peng claims now cannot and should not be taken as the truth. It is also worrying that she is retiring and will be out of the public eye. The public has a very short attention span. As soon as she’s forgotten, she’ll probably be gone for good.

The timing of L'Equipe‘s higher-profile article is suspicious. It came out on February 7, the first Monday of the Olympics, which can only mean that the IOC wanted to, once and for all, force the public to move on from her plight. The IOC would prefer for us to focus on and celebrate the Beijing Games and not home in on any of the inconveniences like Peng Shuai’s silencing or the Uyghur genocide and enslavement. But it takes a lot of covering up to hide all the hogwash that China continually pulls.

American and international media coverage has been a joke. Outlets have erred on the side of CCP propaganda and their treatment of the Peng Shuai situation is no different. Media outfits like ESPN and Time magazine are happy to spread the lie that Peng’s post was merely a “misunderstanding.” Only a few news media sources noted that the interview was supervised. Peng had a CCP lurker making sure she said what she needed to in order to get the world off of China’s back.

Peng Shuai is an individual person, but she is representative of the censorship and brutal silencing that goes on in China daily. The fact that the national and international media are willing to go along to get along is a travesty. History has taught us that appeasing bullies does not stop the bullying; it merely emboldens those bullies to go further and cause more damage. Peng deserves better than this lackadaisical, apathetic response to her plight.

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