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The Peng Shuai case illustrates the many facets of Chinese repression

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 », explains French diplomacy.

In a long letter published on Weibo, Peng Shuai had accused, on November 2, Zhang Gaoli, at the time number seven of the Chinese regime, of having raped her in 2014. Very quickly, her testimony was erased from social networks and his account closed. She herself has not given any sign of life to the point of worrying the world of tennis, the chancelleries and even the United Nations (UN).

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Until this weekend when its reappearance, staged by the state media, leaves many questions unanswered. On Monday, the Human Rights Watch association accused the IOC of relaying « Chinese state propaganda ». The NGO points out that the IOC does not indicate how this interview was carried out even though Peng Shuai was previously unreachable.

This is because 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 reveals the forest or, as the Chinese say, the stain that reveals the panther.

« Silence the critics »

As Human Rights Watch notes “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. Other prominent figures such as billionaire businessman Jack Ma, star Fan Bingbing and Interpol chief Meng Hongwei have also disappeared after colliding with the authorities. After fleeing China or after being released, other former detainees recanted and reconsidered statements they had been forced to make in front of the cameras ”.

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