onsdag 22. desember 2021

Women still have to worry speaking up about abuse will cost them their lives

Earlier this month the Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai posted a statement on the social media site Weibo accusing Zhang Gaoli, a former vice-premier, of sexual assault. Peng’s post acknowledged that she didn’t have evidence to back up her accusations against the powerful former politician, but she was determined not to stay silent. “Like an egg hitting a rock, or a moth to the flame, courting self-destruction, I’ll tell the truth about you,” Peng wrote.

Less than half an hour after the post went up, it disappeared. Searches for Peng’s name seemed to have been blocked, as were searches related to “tennis”, and her Weibo account was hidden from searches. Then Peng herself disappeared. The former doubles world No 1 hasn’t been heard from in more than two weeks.

While there has been growing international concern about Peng’s wellbeing, Chinese media have stayed silent on the matter. The only formal mention of the tennis star was a Twitter post by the state-run English language broadcaster, CGTN, screenshotting a supposed email from Peng in which she says she’s totally fine (just chilling at home!) and the allegation of sexual assault she’d made wasn’t true. Weirdly, people weren’t convinced. I don’t know what has happened to Peng, but she is clearly not just chilling at home.