Tennis player Peng Shuai, who has leveled sexual harassment allegations against a former top Communist Party functionary in China, is missing. There have been many such cases after his disappearance, involving political dissidents, entertainment people, businessmen and others who did not listen to the authorities. The question is, what happened to Peng Shuai? Nearly two weeks ago, Chinese authorities took no direct notice of Grand Slam doubles champion Peng’s online allegations, following outrage in the tennis world and the global media.
Peng had made serious allegations against the former top official
Peng said that she was sexually assaulted by Zhang Gaoli, a former vice-president and member of the party’s most powerful Politburo Standing Committee. Former world number one Peng (35), who won the women’s doubles at Wimbledon in 2013 and the French Open in 2014, has also competed in the Olympics thrice. The Winter Games are to begin in Beijing from February 4 and Peng’s disappearance is further discussed. Peng wrote in a lengthy social media post on November 2 that Zhang tried to forcibly have a physical relationship with her three years ago while she repeatedly refused.
What is the reason behind the disappearance of people in China?
The post was soon removed from his verified account on social media platform Weibo. However, screenshots of this sensational revelation spread on the Internet in China. To say that China is a ‘law by law’ country, but ultimately the hold of the country is with the Communist Party and there are many dark areas of enforcement. Control over the press and social media makes it possible for officials to keep reports of people missing behind closed doors. Even before Peng, several well-known people suddenly disappeared, including business leader Jack Ma and popular actress Fan Bingbing.
Jack Ma disappeared after criticizing
Jack Ma, the founder of the world’s largest e-commerce company Alibaba Group, in a speech in October 2020 called regulators too conservative and has not been seen in public since. Two months later, in January 2020, he appeared in a video released by Alibaba but did not reveal anything about his disappearance. Phan also went missing for three months after news broke that tax officials had asked her and her companies to pay $130 million in taxes and fines.
Heavy price paid for criticizing Xi Jinping
Similarly, business woman Duan Weihang also went missing in 2017. Her husband said that four years later, as he was preparing to publish a book exposing corruption in China’s affluent classes, he received a call from his wife asking him not to get the book published. Real estate businessman Ren Zhiqiang disappeared in March 2020 after criticizing President Xi Jinping for his handling of the coronavirus. Later that year he was sentenced to 18 years in prison for corruption.