Beijing is really putting tennis star Peng Shuai through the cover-up paces: She’s again denying she ever claimed a top Chinese Communist Party official sexually assaulted her. But the Party won’t even let her go on-camera without a handler present.
After weeks during which she’d been “disappeared,” it’s beyond obvious that she’s been forced to recant her regime-embarrassing November claim that ex-Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli assaulted her.
“Sexual assault? I never said that anyone made me submit to a sexual assault,” the three-time Olympian lied to a French paper — via a party translator/goon. More handlers were caught in a mirror in a photo taken at the interview.
This is a blatantly ham-handed bid to clear the party’s image on the world stage; it’s beyond pathetic that many media outlets reported her words without the crucial context. The obvious truth is that the initial assault has been followed by something far worse — sequestration and some combo of “re-education,” threats and even torture.
Other athletes including Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams spoke up for Peng Shuai after her initial disappearance. But anyone now competing in Beijing may not yet dare.
After all, China warned foreign athletes they’re subject to Chinese law for speech violations, and no less a figure than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stepped up to encourage Olympians not to annoy Beijing.
What a way to crush Olympic spirit. Is it any wonder these games are seeing record-low TV ratings?