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A Detail From This Photo of a Chinese Athlete Has People Calling It a ‘Transparent Hostage Situation’

A Chinese tennis star’s recent interview with a French newspaper offered more questions than answers about her retracted allegations of sexual assault.

SO WHAT

The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing are shining a spotlight on China’s human rights abuses.

WHAT THE PHOTO SHOWED

Peng Shuai’s sat down with France’s L’Equipe in a Beijing hotel room Monday for the first interview she has given non-Chinese media since she vanished in November — and photos published with the story have drawn notice.

Social media commenters spotted Chinese Olympic Committee chief of staff Wang Kan hovering near Peng in one image.

  • Human rights activist Drew Pavlou described the scene on Twitter as a “transparent hostage situation.”

WHAT SHE SAID

”I never said anyone had sexually assaulted me in any way,” Peng told L’Equipe, denying her apparent claim of sexual assault against a retired top official in China’s Communist Party.

  • It was all a “huge misunderstanding,” she said, echoing comments she previously made to Chinese state media.
  • Peng also said she was retiring from professional tennis, citing a longtime knee injury.

According to L’Equipe, the interview with Peng took place under highly controlled circumstances.

  • Peng, who has held press conferences in English, spoke only in Mandarin, with Wang translating and another minder watching.
  • Marc Ventouillac, one of the two L’Equipe journalists who interviewed Peng, told The Associated Press Tuesday that the interview did not prove she was safe.
  • He called it “a part of communication, propaganda, from the Chinese Olympic Committee.”

CHINA UNDER THE MICROSCOPE

China’s hosting of the 2020 Winter Olympics has faced widespread opposition, but the Games have been already proved revealing about the nature of the communist regime.

 

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