Tuesday, August 9

The ‘I accuse’ of the tennis player (the sixth of China’s ‘magnificent seven’)


22nd floor of a building with a glass facade in the Chongwen district, southeast of Beijing. There, supposedly, it carries closed five of tennis player Peng Shuai. One of his best friends, who last week took it upon himself to record some din the videos that appeared in networks of Peng’s reappearance in a Beijing restaurant, he assures Humus that she is fine and that she is not being watched, that she just wants to rest and get away from the spotlight after everything that has happened.

Friend’s words crumble when two men get out of a parked black car in front of the urbanization where the building with the glass façade is. Accompanied by three other community workers from the neighborhood, they approach the foreign journalist at the door to ask him what he is doing there.

-Busco a Peng Shuai.

– We don’t know who it is. No person with that name lives here. You better go.

Minutes later, after explaining to Peng’s friend the scene with the two men at the door, he ends up recognizing that they are agents of the Office of Homeland Security, Hard wing of what would be a Ministry of the Interior, but they are there for the tennis player’s safety, so that no one bothers her.

Inside China, the soap opera starring the tennis player who In a letter he accused a former deputy prime minister of sexual assault. But the Peng Shuai case is far from closed.

I know that I cannot say it clearly and that it is useless to say it. But I want to say it anyway. I am a hypocrite. I admit that I am not a good girl. Peng Shuai (35 years old) began with this paragraph the 1,600 word letter that public in Weibo, the Twitter Chinese on November 2. It barely stayed online for 35 minutes before being censored.

After the initial reflection, the Chinese tennis star, three times Olympic champion in doubles and winner in that discipline of Wimbledon and Roland Garros, whom the state media came to baptize as the Princess of china, addresses what happened three years ago when he finished a match on a Beijing hotel court with Zhang Gaoli (75), a former deputy prime minister who had just retired.

After I finished playing, you and your wife Kang Jie took me to their house. Dinner with you and Kang. You took me to your room and, as happened in Tianjin more than ten years ago, you wanted to have sex with me. I was very scared that afternoon, I did not expect things to be like this …

The tennis player says she had already had sex with Zhang before he was promoted to the Politbur Standing Committee in 2013, the highest governing body, led by only seven men. Zhang was sixth on the list of the so-called magnificent seven, the most powerful people of the second world power.

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Zhang Gaoli in an act p
Zhang Gaoli at a public event when he was a powerful representative of the Chinese Party and Government.

The sportswoman had not only been the mistress of one of the most powerful leaders in China. In his letter he speaks of love, of the broken promise of a future life as a couple and implies that it was a relationship consented to by the politician’s wife. He never contacted me again, Peng writes of the moment Zhang was promoted. Until the day of the tennis match in 2018.

I had buried it all inside of me. Why did you come looking for me again? You took me home and forced me to have sex. I have no evidence and it will be impossible for me to keep any evidence. You said that in those seven years you never forgot me and that you would treat me well. You said much more than that, and the purpose was basically to persuade me to lower my guard (…) You denied everything afterwards. That afternoon I originally did not consent and cried all the time.

Peng describes how her emotions became very strong towards Zhang. You told me that you loved me, that you hope that in the next life we ​​can meet, but that in your position it is impossible to divorce. At first everything was fine, but as time passed, things gradually began to change. There was so much injustice and humiliation. Every time you ask me to come to your house, your wife said so many ugly and hurtful things behind your back. All kinds of teasing. Since the first day I met you, I have never used a penny of your money, nor have I used you for any profit.

In her publication, the tennis player assures that their relationship ended after a great discussion on the night of October 30. Although they had arranged to speak on November 2 at the former politician’s house. Today at noon you called to say you’re busy. And so, you disappeared again, like seven years ago. You played with me. That same day he published his letter in Weibo.

What happened later, surely the reader, whether in Madrid or Rio de Janeiro, has seen these weeks on some newscast: the censorship in China and the scandal turned into an international media phenomenon because the tennis player had disappeared from public life following her accusation of sexual abuse. From tennis figures like Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka or Novak Djokovic, to soccer player Gerard Piqu, they shared the hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai.

Meanwhile, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) demanded news of Peng’s situation from China and that they would investigate her allegations under the threat of withdrawing its lucrative business from the Asian country. These appeals were later joined by the UN, the European Union, the US government and the British Parliament.

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On November 19, the first photos of Peng appeared in a smiling room, with a gray cat and surrounded by stuffed animals, as if Beijing wanted to present the tennis player as a girl who plays with toys, ignoring the demands as to whether he could move freely. The images were shared on Twitter, a social network censored in China, several journalists from media controlled by the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP). On the other hand, on the websites of their media, silence continued.

On Sunday the 21st, the tennis player made her prepared first public appearance during the opening ceremony of the final of a youth tennis tournament. Before the end of the day, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) reported that its president, Thomas Bach, had spoken with her through a half-hour video call, and that the tennis player was well and he asked that his privacy be respected. There were images of Peng and Bach smiling behind a screen.

So far the chronology of the latest episodes of the Chinese soap opera that everyone wants to know more about. Is Peng Shui really free after the stark history of repression against the denunciations of the silenced movement MeToo in China?

The relationship
The vice minister’s relationship with the tennis player dates back to 2011, as she wrote. Peng Shuai accused him in a letter of a sexual assault.

Outside of the Asian country, it has not been very funny that the only foreign organization with which the tennis player has spoken has been the IOC, which has dragged accusations of complicity with the authorities of the communist regime for years. Casually, the senior official named in the athlete’s letter, Zhang Gaoli, He was the link and key figure to ensure that Beijing became the venue for the next Winter Olympics, which will begin next February. The then Vice Premier Zhang, appointed head of a working group on the Beijing Games, received Bach five years ago to coordinate the preparatory work for the event.

Unlike President Xi Jinping, a wealthy born son of revolutionary communist heroes, Zhang, the youngest of five brothers, comes from a poor family of farmers from a small coastal town in southeastern Fujian province.

His father died before he was three years old and he helped his mother with farm work.

He studied economics at Xiamen University and graduated at a time troubled by the ravages caused by the Cultural Revolution.

His political career began when he went from carrying sacks of cement in a state oil company to becoming the CCP head of the company. In the 1990s, he held an economic planning position in the south and was head of the party in the city of Shenzhen, in full economic boom of what is now la Silicon Valley from China. Zhang ended up being the governor of Shandong province and then party secretary for the city of Tianjin, adjacent to Beijing, where he had the first intimate relationship with Peng around 2011, according to the tennis player in her letter.

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You were a very good person and you treated me well. We speak of recent history, as well as of ancient times. You educated me on many subjects. We never run out of things to talk about. We play chess, ping-pong, tennis, billiards, we sing together … We always have endless fun. It was as if our personalities fit together perfectly, Peng’s letter reads.

In 2013, Zhang made the leap to Government Standing Committee, directed by Magnificent seven, led by Xi Jinping. The ubiquitous Chinese president is No. 1 on the committee’s list. Zhang, before retiring in 2018, was the sixth.

Until now, the public profile of the man who always sported flawless jet-black hair slicked back has been that of a dull figure, even by Party standards, where top officials tend to follow a strict script while on official business. But his discreet personality did not obscure the enormous power he wielded. He was in charge of the economy, the energy sector and the infrastructure megaproject abroad of the new Silk Road, as well as the preparations for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

In his private life, it is known that his wife, Kang Jie, who was aware of the relationship that the politician had with Peng Shuai [cada vez que me pedas que fuera a tu casa, a tus espaldas tu esposa me deca tantas cosas feas e hirientes]I met her when they both worked at the oil company. They have a son who is a soldier and an adopted daughter -who is the biological daughter of her cousin- who is married to a Hong Kong businessman, Lee Shing Put, who appears in the Panama Papers as a shareholder of three companies offshore domiciled in the British Virgin Islands.


You were always afraid that he was secretly carrying a recording device. I have no evidence to prove what happened. All I have is a memory of my own ruined self (…) But it doesn’t matter if I’m hitting a stone with an egg or I am a moth that flies towards the fire, I’m telling the truth about what happened. With your intelligence and ingenuity, I’m sure you will deny it, or blame me. End of the letter dedicated to the former deputy prime minister by the guarded tennis player.

According to the criteria of

The Trust Project

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