By KEN MORITSUGU, Related Press
BEIJING (AP) — Chinese language authorities have squelched just about all on-line dialogue of sexual assault accusations apparently made by a Chinese language skilled tennis star towards a former prime authorities official, displaying how delicate the ruling Communist Celebration is to such prices.
In a prolonged social media publish that disappeared rapidly, Peng Shuai wrote that Zhang Gaoli, a former vice premier and member of the occasion’s omnipotent Politburo Standing Committee, had pressured her to have intercourse regardless of repeated refusals following a spherical of tennis three years in the past. Her publish additionally stated that they had intercourse as soon as seven years in the past and he or she had emotions for him after that.
Peng is a former top-ranked doubles participant, taking 23 tour-level doubles titles, together with Grand Slams at Wimbledon in 2013 and the French Open in 2014.
The Related Press couldn’t confirm the authenticity of her publish, which was made late Tuesday night time by her verified account on Weibo, a number one Chinese language social media platform. The publish was eliminated quickly after, and a search on Weibo for Peng’s account now turns up no outcomes. Neither she nor Zhang might be reached for remark.
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The accusation is the primary towards a distinguished authorities official for the reason that #MeToo motion took maintain in China in 2018 earlier than being largely tamped down by authorities the identical 12 months. Earlier accusations have been confined to the media, advocacy teams and academia.
The Communist Celebration’s response illustrates its willpower to regulate public discourse and restrain social actions it could’t be certain of controlling. Whereas social media has grow to be ubiquitous in China, it stays firmly below occasion management.
Screenshots of the publish have circulated on Twitter, which is blocked in China, reinvigorating dialogue on that platform about gender relations in China, the place males dominate the highest ranges in politics and enterprise.
Within the publish, Peng, 35, wrote that Zhang, now 75, and his spouse organized to play tennis in Beijing about three years in the past and that he later introduced her right into a room at his house the place the assault occurred.
“I used to be so frightened that afternoon, by no means pondering that this factor might occur,” the publish says.
Rumors and abroad studies about affairs between youthful ladies and main officers have lengthy been staples of Chinese language politics, beginning with the founding father of the Individuals’s Republic, Mao Zedong.
Instances introduced towards current and former officers below occasion chief and President Xi Jinping’s decade-long anti-corruption marketing campaign additionally incessantly characteristic accusations of “lascivious life,” together with bribery and abusing their positions.
Zhang retired in 2018 and has largely disappeared from public life, as is common with former Chinese language officers.
Peng hasn’t performed on the prime tier for the reason that Qatar Open in February 2020. In singles, she reached the semifinals of the 2014 U.S. Open and the Spherical of 16 on the subsequent Australian Open, however hasn’t progressed past the third spherical at any main since Wimbledon in 2017.
The Communist Celebration has more and more cracked down on civil society, together with the #MeToo motion that has struggled to realize traction within the nation.
Zhou Xiaoxuan, a former intern at Chinese language state broadcaster CCTV, was shoved by bystanders in September as she went to courtroom in a case towards a well known presenter.
Since then, the motion has been largely shut down by authorities as activists discovered their on-line posts censored and confronted stress from authorities when attempting to carry protests.
Related Press author Huizhong Wu in Taipei, Taiwan, contributed to this report.
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