The Chinese Communist Party and the administration in Beijing had become too used to eliminating dissenters or anyone who made any allegations at the CCP royalties and high office-bearers. This view was emboldened by the fact that no international organisations including the United Nation’s subsidiary bodies have criticised the CCP. However, because of worries about the safety of Peng Shuai, a Grand Slam doubles winner who accused a former government official of sexual assault, the director of the women’s professional tennis tour stated Wednesday that all WTA tournaments in China will be postponed.
Peng’s sexual assault accusation against a top Chinese official and subsequent disappearance from public view was underlined in Simon’s statement. Many people are doubtful that Peng Shuang is free to act, despite the fact that many photos and videos of her have leaked online amid the world’s growing worry over her whereabouts. “While we now know where Peng is,” Simon said, “I have serious doubts that she is free, safe, and not subject to censorship, coercion, or intimidation.” Despite being given the opportunity to demonstrate Peng’s ability to talk freely, “unfortunately, the leadership in China has not addressed this very serious issue in any credible way.”
After writing a 1,500-word article on her verified Weibo account last month suggesting she’d had a years-long affair with a former Chinese vice premier, the former world doubles No. 1 vanished from the public eye for weeks. That account, which has since been removed from the Chinese internet, describes an incident in which she was allegedly forced into intercourse.
Peng resurfaced after the White House, the United Nations, and top tennis players expressed concern about her whereabouts. Chinese official media broadcast a succession of videos and photographs of her at home, out with friends, and at a tennis event to Twitter. However, their China-focused social media sites and publications have made no mention of the incident or the WTA’s threat to leave the country.
Chinese media unleashes propaganda
Peng Shuai has become a lethal anti-CCP force today, prompting Chinese media to unleash deadbeat propaganda to bust the “myth” of her disappearance. China’s Propaganda in chief, Hu Xijin, has released eight back-to-back videos and photos of Peng Shuai, in his bid to address the concerns of her safety. But the world is still adamant about not buying the CCP’s claims.
Read more: Peng Shuai has begun a global movement against the CCP and the CCP has hit the panic button
Why Peng Shuai is an existential threat to the CCP?
But the CCP’s predicaments are not limited to Peng Shuai’s disappearance case. The unprecedented support that has poured in for Peng Shuai’s release is alarming for the CCP, especially because it could very well spark a chain reaction in China, where other victims of the CCP’s tyranny may soon find it harmless to speak up and tell their own stories. A China that is running helter-skelter to defuse the Peng Shuai bomb, would find it perilous to deal with tons of such cases. And if one needs any more proof, then the scale of pushback that the CCP is receiving from the international community and the Tennis Community shows the extent of damage the Peng Shuai case can do to the legitimacy and sustenance of the Chinese Communist Party.
Novak Djokovic, the world number one, said he “totally” supports the Women’s Tennis Association’s decision to halt tournaments in China due to worries about the safety of female tennis player Peng Shuai, who accused a top Communist Party official of sexual assault.
Latest actions by WTA
Each year, China holds roughly ten women’s tennis tournaments, including the famous season-ending WTA Finals, which will be held there for the next ten years. Various sporting entities based elsewhere, such as the WTA (based in St. Petersburg, Florida), the NBA (based in New York), and the International Olympic Committee (based in Lausanne, Switzerland), rely on the country for billions of dollars in revenue (Lausanne, Switzerland). The WTA Board of Directors, players, tournaments, and sponsors all backed the decision to halt the tour’s play in China, including Hong Kong, WTA President and CEO Steve Simon said. It’s the most outspoken anti-China stance taken by a sports organisation, and it could cost the WTA millions of dollars, however, this also shatters China’s perception that it has bought all organisations with its deep pockets.
Heather Bowler, a spokesperson for the International Tennis Federation, said the ITF Board of Directors would meet on Thursday to review the situation. “From the beginning, the WTA has been steady and committed to its ideals, and we understand their choice,” Bowler added. “We will continue to keep a careful eye on the situation.”
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