It was a report that left me with a sense of discomfort.
On November 18, China’s state-run China Global Television (CGTN) published on Twitter a screenshot of an email allegedly sent by a female professional tennis player to Steve Simon, the chief executive of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA). The email reads as follows in English
I have not personally confirmed or verified the content of the recent news reports. It was published without my consent. The accusations of sexual assault are not true. I am not missing or in danger. I am simply resting at home. Everything is fine.
The tweet was sent to a foreign country. The tweets were sent to foreign countries, and the emails were not reported in China. On the 20th, another state-run media source updated his Twitter account and posted a photo of her. It shows her playing with a cat in a room surrounded by stuffed animals, and holding the cat.
The name of the player in question is Peng Shuang (35), a representative Chinese tennis player who won the British Open in 2001, the French Open in 2002, and is ranked No. 1 in the world in doubles. On November 2, she posted an accusation on the Chinese posting site Weibo that she was having an affair with a former top official of the Chinese Communist Party. The content was shocking.
I went to your house. With your wife. You took me into your room. And we had sexual relations, just as we did more than ten years ago. That afternoon, I was so scared. I didn’t think it would happen that way. But I was trapped, and I did something that I don’t think Mrs. Fischer would have wanted me to do.
Deleted by authorities in 30 minutes.
According to Peng’s post, “you” refers to Zhang Gaoli, 75, a former vice premier who was a senior official of the Communist Party of China. When Zhang was the head of Tianjin city in 2007, they had an affair, but when Zhang entered central politics, they drifted apart. When Zhang retired from politics in 2005, they were forced into a relationship and became man and woman again. In China, where regulations are strict, it is unusual for a scandal to involve a former top official.
“Peng’s post was deleted by the authorities about 30 minutes after it was distributed. But the screenshot spread quickly. The Taiwanese media, which is at odds with China, reported the story, and the whole world knew about it. Although the authenticity of the post is unclear, the alleged affair between the former top executive and the top executive of China has become a hot topic in Japan as well. They are 40 years apart in age,” said a writer in China.
However, the uproar did not stop with the deletion of the post. However, the uproar didn’t stop with the deletion of the post; Peng’s whereabouts became unknown soon after. On the 14th, the WTA demanded that the Chinese government investigate the allegations.
Suddenly, in the midst of the uproar, the Chinese media published Peng’s e-mail, saying that the affair was not real.
“Is it really an email written by Peng? Even if he did write it, it is doubtful that he did so of his own volition. If everything is going well, as it seems to be, then it would be normal for him to use his own social networking service instead of relying on the state-run media. She could even send out a video of her good health in real time.
The WTA’s Simon acknowledged receiving the email, but issued the following statement: “We are more than concerned.
The WTA’s Simon acknowledged receiving the email, but issued the following statement: “We are more concerned than ever. It is difficult to believe that he wrote it. Ms. Peng must be allowed to speak freely without any coercion or intimidation. Her accusations of sexual assault must be respected and investigated with full transparency and without censorship.
For China, executive scandals are a serious matter that should not be allowed to happen. Journalist Satoshi Tomisaka, a professor at Takushoku University and an expert on Chinese affairs, discusses the background to the uproar and the release of the emails by the authorities.
“I think they’re afraid it will turn into a diplomatic issue. The U.S. Biden administration is said to be considering a boycott of next year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing, citing human rights issues in China. A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also responded to questions from foreign journalists about the row, saying, ‘It’s not a diplomatic issue. By releasing the e-mails, the authorities must have wanted to express their views.
However, the way he did it was not good. It would be unreasonable to expect people to believe that Peng is safe and the affair is a lie just by showing a screenshot of the e-mail. In fact, it may have even amplified the suspicion. It is hard to believe that Mr. Peng is being detained by the authorities, but I am sure that he is under surveillance.
Calls for an investigation into the scandal are intensifying from abroad. With the Beijing Olympics just three months away, allegations of an affair between a top athlete and a former top executive are causing a stir.