Embarrassed, Beijing once again tries to defuse the Peng Shuai affair

Scoop or staging? For the first time since her post on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, on November 2, and the subsequent media disappearance, tennis player Peng Shuai spoke of the accusations she made against former Chinese Communist leader Zhang Gaoli. In a short video, the champion answered questions from an employee of a Singaporean daily, on the sidelines of a Nordic skiing competition in Shanghai, Sunday, December 19.

“First, I want to stress a very important point: I have never said or written that anyone who sexually assaulted me”, Peng Shuai told the Lianhe Zaobao, a Chinese-language daily favorable to Beijing. “Next, regarding my post on Weibo, this is a matter of my privacy, and I think there was a misunderstanding with a lot of people,” added the young woman, dressed in a black jacket and a red T-shirt with the logo “China”.

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If Peng Shuai confirms for the first time that she herself published her accusations on Weibo, the former world number one in doubles seems to say that she would like to close the case. Do the Chinese authorities hope to end the embarrassing scandal with these denials made to a foreign media? Sunday’s video looks like a re-release – and more credible – of his video exchange with the International Olympic Committee, of which only a succinct statement was released that made no reference to the accusations against Zhang Gaoli.

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If the video, filmed on a cell phone, has the appearances of spontaneity, the context is important. Earlier, at the same event, Peng Shuai appeared in images released by a reporter from the Global Times, a Chinese nationalist daily newspaper, whose journalists had already ” got “ Peng Shuai videos to be broadcast on Twitter only: intended for foreign audiences, therefore, since this medium is inaccessible in China. “A friend sent me this video showing tennis star Peng Shuai chatting with [le joueur de basketball] Yao Ming (…) in Shanghai ”, reporter Chen Qingqing wrote on Sunday. The fact that the state press is once again being used to give pledges on Peng Shuai’s situation is alarming.

“Forced to have a relationship”

Moreover, the Lianhe Zaobao is largely pro-Chinese, and the author of the video, a former journalist, is now the newspaper’s representative in Shanghai, in charge of sales. She continues to take the pen from time to time: one of her last articles, to the glory of the city of Xiamen, in the south of China, was sponsored by the municipal authorities.

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Embarrassed, Beijing once again tries to defuse the Peng Shuai affair

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