While Peng’s public reappearances might allay a number of the worst fears about her fast security and well-being, they’ve didn’t quell broader considerations about her freedoms and rising requires a full investigation into her sexual assault allegations.
“It was good to see Peng Shuai in recent videos, but they don’t alleviate or address the WTA’s concern about her well-being and ability to communicate without censorship or coercion,” a spokesperson for the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) advised CNN in a press release, following Peng’s name with the IOC.
Human rights advocates who’ve lengthy adopted Beijing’s silencing campaigns are additionally unconvinced.
“What we have here is essentially a state-controlled narrative: only the government and its affiliated media are generating and distributing the content about Peng’s story,” mentioned Maya Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch (HRW).
“While it is possible that Peng is well, the history of the Chinese government disappearing people and then making videos of them to prove that they are unharmed when it is, in fact, the opposite, should make us worried about Peng’s safety,” she added.
The video clips look like particularly — but crudely — crafted to indicate that Peng is “free” and residing a “normal” life.
In footage launched on Saturday, Peng was seen out to dinner with a number of folks state media journalists have described as “her coach and friends.” The clips made repeated, deliberate references to the dates, whereas Peng stored nodding to the person talking subsequent to her, not saying something.
None of the movies made even the vaguest point out of Peng’s sexual assault allegations in opposition to Zhang. Instead, they targeted on her smiles and obvious good-spirits — which state media propagandists have been keen to spotlight.
“Those who suspect Peng Shuai is under duress, how dark they must be inside. There must be many, many forced political performances in their countries,” Hu wrote on Twitter.
Chinese authorities haven’t acknowledged Peng’s allegations in opposition to Zhang, and there’s no indication an investigation is underway. It stays unclear if Peng has reported her allegations to the police.
Speaking at a information convention Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian reiterated that Peng’s accusation isn’t a diplomatic subject and declined to remark additional.
Zhang has stored a low profile and light from public life since his retirement in 2018, and there’s no public data referring to his present whereabouts.
“The reality is, they have huge control over Peng Shuai — to the extent that it’s enough to make her cooperate and become an actor,” alleged Lv Pin, a outstanding Chinese feminist now based mostly in New York.
Chinese authorities have to date elected to not place Peng on state tv, maybe conscious that her presence — even solely on its English-language platforms — would run counter to ongoing efforts to censor all discussions round her unique allegations, and thus generate extra questions inside China than solutions.
Instead, Peng appeared in a 30-minute video name with IOC officers, accompanied by — and beneath the shut watch of — a Chinese sports activities official who previously served because the Communist Party secretary of the Tennis Administration Center of the General Administration of Sport of China.
The interview has not been reported by Chinese state media. But on its web site, the IOC posted a press release and a photograph of the decision. It did not launch the total video, nor clarify the circumstances surrounding the digital assembly, together with the way it was organized.
And it seems that IOC officers have walked away from the assembly — at the least publicly — concluding that Peng is OK.
“I was relieved to see that Peng Shuai was doing fine, which was our main concern,” mentioned Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission Emma Terho, who joined the video name together with Li Lingwei, the Chinese sports activities official.
By drawing to fast conclusions about Peng’s present state and avoiding any point out of her sexual assault allegations that ignited the entire controversy, analysts say the IOC is placing its personal credibility on the road — and doubtlessly dangers changing into complicit in Beijing’s propaganda push.
“The IOC call hardly alleviates our concerns for Peng’s well-being or safety,” mentioned Wang from the HRW.
“In fact, it begs the question of why the IOC appears to be participating in what is essentially a state-controlled narrative, as only the government and its affiliated media have been allowed to tell Peng’s story.”