Peng Shuai Reappears but WTA Still Fears for Her Safety

Peng Shuai Reappears but WTA Still Fears for Her Safety

( – A growing mystery is surrounding Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, who disappeared from public view in November and has now resurfaced. Just before she vanished, Peng publicly accused a senior communist official of abusing her; now she’s denying she ever said it.

On November 2, Peng posted a message on Weibo – China’s state-controlled equivalent of Twitter – accusing Politburo member and former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of coercing her into having sex with him. Inside 20 minutes, the post had vanished, and any mention of it was quickly stamped out by communist censors. And — it was the last people heard of Peng Shuai. The World Tennis Association asked China to stop the censorship and to disclose her location. Fellow tennis stars demanded to know she was OK. China said nothing.

Then, on December 19, Peng reappeared in a video interview with a communist newspaper. In the video, she claimed she’s been staying at home but was free to come and go if she wanted to. She then insisted, “I have never said that I wrote that anyone sexually assaulted me.”

The thing is, she did say it. China’s Orwellian government might have deleted the post, but screenshots of it are circulating freely on the internet. She said it. Everyone knows she said it. So why is she denying it now? What threats have the communists made?

This isn’t the first time an inconvenient celebrity has vanished for weeks, then popped up again like to reveal a transformation into an obedient, pro-regime drone – a sort of communist Stepford Wife, or an Asian Winston Smith sitting in the Beijing branch of the Chestnut Tree Cafe listening to Big Brother Xi’s speeches.

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