I am devastated and shocked to hear about the news of my peer, Peng Shuai. I hope she is safe and found as soon as possible. This must be investigated and we must not stay silent. Sending love to her and her family during this incredibly difficult time. #whereispengshuai pic.twitter.com/GZG3zLTSC6— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) November 18, 2021 I’m guessing most people have seen or heard this news story, at least in passing. I’ve been obsessed with Peng Shuai’s story ever since it hit - both for the story it is today as well as the story it has the potential to become in the coming weeks. There’s been a ton of reporting on the international drama building around this. Sadly, however, the last real news on Peng was about a week ago when the chief pant-load of IOC decided it would be a really neat idea to pose for a Chinese Communist Party propaganda photo. The photo purports to show him speaking with Peng Shuai on a video call, where she’s supposedly telling him that she’s alive and well and “resting at home”. Of course, no audio of the video call was made available. When this minor issue was pointed out by the Women’s Tennis Association - a group of friggin’ superstars from the moment Peng disappeared - the CCP dropped a crapload of around-the-town photos of Peng to prop up the collapsing narrative. No one has been able to verify any of them. For those who haven’t been following the story, in a nutshell …. Peng Shuai is a professional tennis player in her mid-30’s. I don’t know all that much about women’s tennis, but I guess she’s best known these days as a doubles player. On November 2nd, Peng wrote a long post on Weibo, China’s main social media platform, where she told half a million followers about her affair with former Vice Premier and high-ranking secretary of the CCP, Zhang Gaoli. One side note: most of the news stories you’ll read refer to this as Peng alleging she was sexually assaulted. I’m not sure that’s correct. While she certainly does describe being pressured into sex with the communist creep against her will, if you read Peng’s full post, it’s a bit more complicated. She was clearly in love with the guy going back seven years prior when he was spearheading China’s 2022 Winter Olympic bid. She doesn’t go too far into that history, but she suggests that he ended their affair when he took his position on the Politburo. Then, after retiring in 2017, Zhang had someone reach out to Peng to invite her to play tennis. Following that, they went back to his house, she had dinner with him and his wife, after which Zhang put the hard sell on her to return to their boning. She cried and said no multiple times, but eventually, by her own words, she “agreed,” owing to the strong love she felt for him seven years earlier. A whole bunch of fucking apparently followed for the next few years, but also what Peng describes as a deeply loving relationship. He confessed loneliness to her and she to him. They played chess, talked politics and blah blah blah. On more than one occasion, the topic of spending the rest of their lives together came up but, as much as he would like to have divorced his wife, his seniority in the CCP wouldn’t tolerate the embarrassment. I take from Peng’s post that this became a growing source of tension between them. Although, it seems like her bigger issue is how she, an internationally recognized tennis player, was kept in the shadows and treated like a shit-heel by Zhang whenever other people were around, including Zhang’s wife. Things continued to degrade and Peng describes the two having a bad fight on October 30th, followed by a phone call the afternoon of November 2nd, where Zhang denied anything ever happened between them and told Peng to fuck off. Peng must have stewed about that phone call all day long and, sometime around 10pm that night, she posted her long exposé on Weibo. 30 minutes later, her post was deleted and Weibo was sanitized of all references to her or her post. Nothing more has been heard from or about Peng Shuai since. Credit where credit is due - those Chinese communists really are an efficient bunch. So, that’s the background for those that haven’t heard it and for those who have but are relying on the simplified version the corporate media has been given. The NY Times and WSJ have both had mostly solid reporting. Still, I think we need to be a little careful identifying the concern here. Peng was either disappeared or silenced - that’s the issue. I’ve read quite a few news stories that focus on the “sexual assault” angle and how this is China’s first big #metoo incident. Nah. Sure, it was a tawdry affair; and yes, he used his power and position to dig around in her drawers. I’m just not sure Peng, herself, would use the term “sexual assault”. If so, I’d love to hear that from her directly, and I promise vigorous support from my suburban kitchen table. The problem is - she’s now gone and the CCP’s bullshit attempts at proof-of-life photos only create more questions. That’s the issue for right now. The really encouraging part of the story is that pressure on the CCP is building each day, and will only continue to build as we get closer to the Beijing Olympics. If Peng is still missing by the time opening ceremonies begin, brace for the international intrigue. But you can read all about that here.