The Case of Peng Shuai

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China still struggles to quash the latest #MeToo scandal, as worry for Peng Shuai lingers.

  • It is safe to say that China’s track record of dealing with #MeToo allegations are subpar - to say the least - most claims are dismissed and swept under the rug, never to be acknowledged again.
  • The allegations of Shuai against former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli are arguably the most significant in China's history. She used social media to accuse the retired Communist official of sexual assault.
  • Shuai acknowledged that her accusations may lead to very little, describing her statement like a “moth attacking a flame”. All the same she needed to tell her truth, regardless of the outcome.
  • Shuai, 35, is one of China’s greatest athletes and a former tennis doubles number 1. Since making the statement, she has not been heard from and her post has been scrubbed from the internet.
  • Zhang, now 75, served between 2013 and 2018 and was an extremely close ally of President Xi Jinping. He has made no effort to respond to Shuai’s claims.
  • A few weeks ago, the Chinese government released an email, which they stated was from Shuai which detailed that her former statement was not true. The email has been dismissed as untrue.
  • Most recently, in her first interview since the allegations were made, Shuai denied that she ever made an accusation of sexual assault and that there were “a lot of misunderstandings” about the post.
  • Both events have led to heightened global worry over Shuai’s whereabouts and her safety. Although she is now seen to be alive and her whereabouts known, many wonder how closely monitored Shuai is.
The New York Times
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