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Tennis star accuses party leader of sexual assault

We take this very seriously and will get to the bottom of it. This is often the reaction when people in high positions are accused of sexual abuse or other crimes.

But in China, when a politician from the highest elite in the Communist Party is accused of sexual assault, the response is different: cover and censorship.

Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, who posted on social media site Weibo, was in a long post on Tuesday, describing how Zhang Gaoli, the former deputy prime minister, raped her.

– I was so scared that afternoon. I never gave consent, I cried all the time, Ping writes of the day the former top name in the Communist Party was said to have imposed itself on her.

Former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli is accused of sexually assaulting tennis star Peng Shuai.

Photo: Wang Chao/AFP

raised her accusation Great interest. Peng Shuai, 35, is one of the most popular female athletes in China. She has a long successful career in tennis and won, among others, the Wimbledon Championships and the French Open for Doubles.

That she has now dared to accuse the 75-year-old Zhang Gaoli, who has held senior positions in the Communist Party, is remarkable and comes at a sensitive time. On Monday, the most important political meeting of the year in China, the sixth plenary session, begins with the attendance of the entire party elite.

Then the supreme leadership of the party, the Central Committee, will tell about their successes and no shadow will fall on the party.

Therefore, it was not surprising that the censors had withdrawn and gone into high gear when the Peng Shua story exploded. And soon the post disappeared, as did her account on social media.

But screenshots from her publications continued to circulate on the Internet as interest in the story was great. In the cat-and-mouse game, censors struggled to delete posts about the accusations, while users tried in various fanciful ways to outsmart censorship by using code words like #tennis or #melon (slang for drama).

In his message he says Peng said she first met Zhang when he was a party base in the coastal city of Tianjin from 2007-2012. The two are said to have had an on-off relationship until he was appointed deputy prime minister in 2013 and also became a member of the powerful Politburo of the Communist Party. Then Zhang disconnected.

But after they retired in 2018, Zhang and his wife called Bing and invited her to play tennis. On this occasion the abuse must have occurred.

Where Bing is now is unclear, but her post shows that she is aware that she is taking a risk.

“I know you said that you are not afraid of your position, Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli. But even if it was only me, like an egg thrown on a rock, or a butterfly drawn to a flame and calling for self-destruction, I will tell the truth about you.”

The Metoo movement has gained some traction in China of late, despite the fact that those who make the accusations are often pressured into silence and rarely win in court. Journalists, academics, and government employees have been accused of sexual harassment. But no one in the Communist Party like Zhang has been charged.

Earlier this year, a high-profile trial took place against a popular TV anchor in China who was accused of sexual assault. Zhou Xiaoxuan who accused the TV anchor He lost the case for lack of “sufficient evidence”. “I hope she’s safe and secure,” Zhou Xiaoxuan now writes in support of tennis star Peng.

Peng also supports Lü Pin, a Chinese feminist activist who has moved to the United States. On Twitter, Lü Pin is warning people to exclude Peng because her post is a bit messy.

I feel humiliation and anger in her heart, writes Lü Pin.

Read more:

China tries to silence metoo code: ‘Why do they want to crush me’

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