Friday (November 19th): Peng Shuai: Where are you?

Peng Shuai
Peng Shuai

Name? Peng Shuai

Westphalian identity? Chinese

Age? 35

Why is she in the news? Last month Peng Shuai went missing after she accused a senior Chinese leader of sexual assault. She did appear at a youth tennis tournament today after pressure mounted on the Chinese propaganda apparatus, but concerns whether Peng Shuai is actually free remain. 

Why do we care? This is the first accusation against a high ranking party official after the first #MeToo movement in China in 2018. Three years ago the movement was tamped down and silenced by the authorities and it appears like the same is happening to Peng Shuai. 

Why should you care? We do not have to list the reasons why you should care about any #Metoo allegations. When you look at Peng Shuai’s case, in particular, the power of Chinese censorship becomes evident. The same power that forces foreign companies to change their tone on Taiwan due to Chinese pressure and you have discovered the powers of China as a global player. You should care 9/10.

Who else cares? President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach. He had an online call with Peng Shuai where she expressed that she is “safe and well, living at her home in Beijing, but would like to have her privacy respected at this time”. Thomas Bach could not verify whether she was speaking freely. Additionally, as President of the IOC pressure on him amounts over the upcoming winter Olympics in China and the threatened diplomatic boycott of western countries. 

Any further comments? While anything surrounding Peng Shuai is completely blocked on Chinese social media and media, the international Chinese news outlet ‘Global Times’ is trying to make it seem like she is fine. It even quotes IOC President Bach, but not on Peng Shuai, if anything the outlet quotes him with “Beijing has all elements ready for successful Olympics” …

Joshua Dario Hasenstab

General Coordinator