US News Analysis-The Case Peng Shuai Raises the Veil on Chinese Control Wheels

19:50  23 november  2021
19:50  23 november  2021 Source:   france24.com

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Tennis-China / Peng-Governance (Analysis, Photo): Analysis-The Case Peng Shuai Raises the veil on the wheels of Chinese control

by Gabriel Crossley and yew lon tian

Pekin, 23 November (Reuters) - The fate of the Chinese star of Tennis Peng Shuai has concretized for a large part of the international opinion the realities of censorship in China and the discretion attached to Cultivating senior executives, just a few months from the next Olympic Winter Games, which will take place from February 4th to February 20th in Beijing.

The 35-year-old player, formerly world duplicate, suddenly disappeared after revealed November 2 on Weibo (Chinese social network comparable to Twitter) that former Vice Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli had forced him to sex with him before starting a discontinuous relationship for several years.

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Its accusations on the Internet were then censored and the young woman reappeared in public only last Sunday, almost three weeks later, according to pictures of a Beijing tournament broadcast by the organizers.

The well-running mechanics of censorship allowed to stifle the scandal across China by quickly removing the messages from Peng Shuai and blocking any reference to the champion in online discussions, internet users being forced to Use language tips to bypass strict control applied to the Chinese Internet.

for the experts, the priority in Beijing is to avoid any embarrassment or questioning of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) and President Xi Jinping on the domestic scene, a policy that should not vary even if international disputes. China is growing as the Games approach.

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"For several years now, China has responded to international criticism either by providing unconvincing explanations, ignoring accusations," says Zhang Ming, retired political science professor of the Renmin University.

While Chinese officials regularly evoke the need to relay the official Chinese versions of certain events on the international scene, "at one time, the case of Peng highlighted the bankruptcy of this ambition", explains David Bandurski, From the search organization China Media Project, based in Hong Kong.

"official version"

The Chinese government has not expressed itself on this subject but the efforts of journalists in Chinese media to try to dispel the concerns about the fate of the player did not calm the concert of protests international.

Thus, the publication on Twitter (but not on the Chinese networks) of messages relaying an alleged email in which Peng Shuai assured that she was fine and that she was simply sitting home did not convince big world.

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These Beijing attempts to impose an official version of history hit the international opinion, and the case of Peng Shuai gave new arguments to the supporters of a boycott of the Beijing Olympics, which denounce the situation of the rights Humans in the country, especially with respect to the Uyghur Muslim minority in the Chinese Xinjiang region.

President Joe Biden announced last week that the United States was considering a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympic Games - which means that no official official delegation would attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Games 2022.

The Global Times Chinese state newspaper published on Monday an editorial with "anti-Chinese forces" to try to generate disorders in the Games approach and stating that it "did not value" for China to spend Energy on this subject, without mentioning the case of Peng Shuai.

A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry invited Tuesday "Some people" to cease "malicious hype" and the "politicization" of Peng Shuai's fate.

Beyond the only case of Peng Shuai, this folder also illustrates the cult of secrecy around the Chinese ruling class, whose privacy remains largely unknown to the general public, with the exception of some details.

Neither the Chinese government nor Zhang Gaoli - now retired - did not speak about the accusations launched by the player.

"The party must protect it, because it is the image of the CCP that is at stake," explains Jean-Pierre Cabestan, Chinese politics specialist at Hong Kong Baptist University.

(Report Gabriel Crossley and Yew Mon Tian; French Version Myriam Rivet, edited by Blandine Hénault)

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