The suspicious disappearance of Peng Shuai, one of the facets of the repression in China

The video interview between the Chinese tennis champion Peng Shuai and the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach, Sunday, November 21, does not seem to have convinced many people. On Monday, the French Embassy in China even published, in Chinese, on its Weibo account, the Chinese Twitter, a statement expressing its “Concern about the lack of information about the situation of Peng Shuai”. “We call on the Chinese government to implement its commitments to combat violence against women”, specifies the embassy.

In a long letter published on November 2 on Weibo, Peng Shuai had accused Zhang Gaoli, at the time number seven of the Chinese regime, of having raped her in 2014. Very quickly, her testimony was deleted from social networks and her account firm. She herself has not given any sign of life, to the point of worrying the tennis world, the chancelleries and even the United Nations (UN). Until this weekend when its reappearance, staged by the state media, leaves many questions unanswered.

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On Monday, the Human Rights Watch association accused the IOC of relaying “Chinese state propaganda”. The NGO points out that the committee does not indicate how this interview was carried out, while Peng Shuai was previously unreachable.

The case of this sportswoman is far from isolated. Between suspicious disappearances, forced confessions or, on the contrary, the silence imposed, the repression imposed by Beijing against those who embarrass the regime can take many aspects. Peng Shuai is the tree that hides the forest or, as the Chinese say, the stain that reveals the panther.

“Silence the critics”

Comme le note Human Rights Watch, “The Chinese government is killing people whose opinions or conduct are seen to be problematic, employing extralegal forms of detention and torture, and publishing forced confessions to make dubious cases appear legitimate. Chinese authorities have a long tradition of silencing critics, including human rights lawyers, journalists, Nobel Peace Prize laureates, and Hong Kong publishers like Swedish bookseller Gui Minhai ”. The NGO also cites other personalities as examples “Like billionaire businessman Jack Ma, star Fan Bingbing and Interpol chief Meng Hongwei.” “After fleeing China or being released, other former detainees recanted and reconsidered statements they were forced to make in front of the cameras.”, she specifies.

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The suspicious disappearance of Peng Shuai, one of the facets of the repression in China