What Peng Shuai reveals about one-party rule

rectang · 9 days ago

> With the Winter Olympics opening in Beijing in February, the IOC and corporate sponsors have multi-billion-dollar reasons to help China make the Peng Shuai story go away. Therein lies a bleak lesson. The WTA has been brave in challenging China, given that it has organised lucrative tournaments there. But as a women’s sports association, it depends on retaining the confidence of women players. Sometimes there are incentives larger than China’s market.

It's remarkable that the WTA has stood up for Peng Shuai. International corporations typically knuckle under to the CCP. See the IOC's response, and also Jamie Dimon recently backtracking on his mild joke.

chongli · 9 days ago

It is remarkable but it shouldn’t be surprising. As the article says, the WTA is a women’s sports association and arguably the most successful one in the world. If the WTA caved to pressure from China then they would rightly be vilified in the west for betraying women. There is no way they could ever do that and get away with it!

hintymad · 9 days ago

It's also great that WTA does not depend on Chinese market, so they won't sustain too much of loss by antagonizing Chinese authority. On the other hand, look at NBA. The righteous American conscience, the one and the only King James, kisses up to China to no end.

chongli · 9 days ago

I would be really interested to see how things would go if it was a WNBA player making the sexual assault complaint against a party grandee. The NBA owns the WNBA and we might reasonably expect them to cave to the pressure as they have before. However I think they’d face a rebellion from their players as well as the public. It could get really ugly.

Pyramus · 9 days ago

> It's also great that WTA does not depend on Chinese market

Due to Covid several tournaments in China were cancelled, which seems to have helped.

adriand · 9 days ago

Perhaps women are also better at speaking truth to power.

igorkraw · 9 days ago

I can't help but wonder this myself, although I don't think it is safe/easy to say this with confidence - but if you look at Jane Jacobs, Hannah Arendt, Simone Weil, Rosa Luxemburg, Chelsea Manning and others, I sometimes think about whether being in the historically weaker societal role sharpens your insight and moral cohones. I don't believe there's enough evidence to say it's there, but I would buy a story that went something like the subtle machismo men suck up as they get socialised might hinder us in those regards.

But then I look to certain contemporary female lesbian politicians in my country and I reconsider that...and there have been people like David Graeber, James Scott, Mikhael Bakunin, Peter Kropotkin, Edward Snowden and many others as well.

xwolfi · 9 days ago

And honestly, I d be the party, I d embrace it and move with it. If the Church can take it, so can the party, fix it and get on with it.

The fact one dude has a mistress he raped then followed on, doesnt need to reflect on the political model, the party legitimity, or China's success.

Just look at Trump and the republicans in the US, they rolled with it, Toad dick or not.

__s · 9 days ago

Didn't know context of joke here, so looked it up: https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/11/jamie-dimon-quickly-...

The quotation seems to be garbled in that link, https://www.fnlondon.com/articles/jamie-dimon-jokes-jpmorgan... has one that makes more sense

> The Communist Party is celebrating its 100th year. So is JPMorgan. And I’ll make you a bet we last longer.

Tho second link isn't a citation for:

> I can’t say that in China. They are probably listening anyway.

DaiPlusPlus · 9 days ago

"Didn't know context of joke here"

Why are people referring to it as a joke? He may have said it in a jocular tone-of-voice, but I don't think it was a joke at all: it's a reasoned statement to make and furthermore it's a statement I agree with: given US blue-chip companies' propensity to entrench themselves and the CCP's reversion back to authoritarianism (which history has made abundantly clear: rarely ends-well for authoritarians) means that absent anything unexpected happening, the CCP may very-well no-longer exist within a generation or two from now - or at least the CCP won't exist as-we-know-it.

marcus_holmes · 9 days ago

There is a view of history where the thousands of years of Chinese rule-by-bureaucracy is uninterrupted.

My grandfather grew up there and was fond of saying "you have to remember the Chinese did not pray to God. The average Chinese person is not important enough for that. They prayed to the third under-secretary to God's chamberlain. What they really worship is bureaucracy". I don't know China well enough to comment on this myself, but I always found it a fascinating take on the situation.

mr_toad · 9 days ago

> I don't think it was a joke at all: it's a reasoned statement

It’s funny ‘cause it’s true.

__s · 9 days ago

1. As I stated, I didn't know anything about this, so I'm using language chosen by those before me on topic

2. You're explaining why this "joke" might be taken serious by CCP

3. Most jokes have a hint of truth to them

walrus01 · 9 days ago

If you really want to ensure you're on the CCP's shit list, casually call it Occupied West Taiwan and show a Kuomintang flag.

jdonaldson · 9 days ago

I'm not a big fan of China, but it's probably best if our business leaders didn't mock each other's countries in poor taste.

outside1234 · 9 days ago

Can you be more specific?

We are talking here about a former professional player the China government made disappear.

flyinglizard · 9 days ago

He’s referring to Jamie Dimon from JPMorgan. I thought Dimon has quite the balls to come out on China like that, touching CCP and Taiwan (“China’s Vietnam” he called it, referring to America’s war) in a way that no one with business interests in China would.

yung_steezy · 9 days ago

The WTA have done an amazing job of raising the profile of this case and keeping the story in the media. I have to admit that despite watching a lot of tennis, prior to this incident I was not familiar with Peng Shai. Doubles tennis is a little bit like a sport within a sport though.

outside1234 · 9 days ago

And with the profile raised, we should not let off the gas.

Every story about the Olympics should have a comment asking "Where is Peng?"

guscost · 9 days ago

I can’t help but wonder how badly the CCP is actually fighting to suppress this, though - I think I heard laowhy86 argue that they might allow it to consume the news cycle, to distract from something else.

Seeing this comment, and seeing e.g. CBS highlight the story, it really just seems fishy in general. Something is different - maybe we’re just in a new era, but who knows.

msoad · 9 days ago

Making CCP sweat a little bit for human rights is indeed a new era

narrator · 9 days ago

>I think I heard laowhy86 argue that they might allow it to consume the news cycle, to distract from something else.

Meanwhile in Xinjiang...

pphysch · 9 days ago

laowhy86 is about as reliable a source on China as Alex Jones on Sandy Hook. Bottom of the gutter grifting.

throwaway_sb666 · 9 days ago

Having lived in Beijing and Shenzhen for almost 7 years, I find that where I have first hand experience his reporting is pretty accurate.

Would you mind to elaborate why you consider it bottom of the gutter grifting? Genuinely curious to hear another perspective.

milbertson · 9 days ago

Or reasons for saying this?

guscost · 9 days ago

Ok, do you have any recommendations for uh, China analysis YouTubers?

ipnon · 9 days ago

There is no Streisand effect on the dark side of the Great Firewall. There, a scandal has a short lifespan. It is hard for the censors to prevent its birth, but its progeny, the discussion and the aftereffects, are easily nipped with keyword blocking and disabling comments.

What effects does this have on Chinese society? What happens when the only public scandals are those that are convenient for the government?

Andrew_nenakhov · 9 days ago

The dissent moves offline. To kitchens and smoking rooms. And judging by what happened in the USSR, it results in a social apathy and, eventually, economic stagnation.

outside1234 · 9 days ago

Wait until an Olympic Athlete wears a "Where is Peng?" shirt.

FooBarWidget · 9 days ago

The media's reporting on Peng Shuai's case is... let's say, incomplete. For a better picture, one should read her original Weibo post. Here is a translation: https://www.reddit.com/r/tennis/comments/qmn69a/full_transla...

I've checked this translation and I agree with most of it.

legutierr · 9 days ago

How is the specific content of her Weibo post relevant at all here?

The issue is that the woman was kidnapped by the Chinese government because simple because she spoke out publicly, and it seems to me that the media’s reporting has been very complete in that regard.

What specifically has been lacking?

FooBarWidget · 9 days ago

It's fine if you don't think it's relevant. I am posting for those who do think it's relevant.

miohtama · 9 days ago

Thank you sir. It is always better to read the source. Though in this case, the most of the discussion is about how party protect its members against scandals and law. Poor woman.

stefan_ · 9 days ago

Hey, if only the native speakers could weigh in on this! Do you want to explain again why that isn't possible?

legutierr · 8 days ago

When I asked "how is the content of her post relevant here?" I meant: how is the content of the post relevant with regards to your assertion that the media's reporting has been incomplete?

I also asked you what specifically has been lacking in those media reports.

You are not just posting this information to share it. You are making a claim that the media's reporting has been incomplete, which claim you have not substantiated.

So, I ask again, what specific relevant information has been lacking from media reports?

mongol · 9 days ago

Thanks for posting it. I found it relevant.

burntbridge · 9 days ago

I heard about her disappearance from social media for a time. Can you link information about her kidnapping please.

legutierr · 8 days ago

Here is a general overview of events:


Relevant quotes:

> For almost three weeks following the accusation, Peng was not seen in public and her whereabouts were not publicly disclosed.

> WTA chief Simon told CNN he had been in conversation with counterparts at the Chinese Tennis Association, who had provided assurances Peng was unharmed in Beijing. However, attempts to reach Peng directly had proved unsuccessful, he said.

After her initial disappearance (not just from social media, but also from public) she has only been seen in stage-managed circumstances, only accompanied by state officials:

> New video clips of the tennis star were tweeted by members of Chinese state media on November 20 and 21.

> One clip appears to show Peng sitting with China Open tournament co-director Zhang Junhui and two women around a table in a restaurant in Beijing. The clips appear to deliberately emphasize specific dates. Throughout the video, Zhang is speaking to Peng, but she doesn't say anything.

> Then later on Sunday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced its President Thomas Bach held a video phone call with Peng. The two were accompanied on the call by a Chinese sports official, Li Lingwei, as well as the Chair of the Athletes' Commission, Emma Terho.

The evidence points to her having been physically seized by state officials, who seem to be attempting to mitigate the PR crisis created by her accusations by controlling her physical person. Of course, this is only my opinion and personal interpretation of reported events.

FooBarWidget · 9 days ago

I am confused about your request. Are you asking for Chinese sources of her kidnapping?

9tailedkitsune · 9 days ago

Because the media doesn't just report on her safety, it also reports on what she said? And how they interpret what she said has significant impact on how people think what happened?

boomskats · 9 days ago

What's your opinion on this alternative translation posted a couple of days ago?


It attempts to highlight a few cultural nuances missing from the original translation. However it hasn't had any native speakers weigh in on it on r/tennis.

FooBarWidget · 9 days ago

It's commendable that he tried adding more notes but on the whole I don't find it more useful to English speakers than the version I linked. The version you linked also has some things I disagree with:

I disagree with note 4, claiming that that paragraph is her evidence for non-consensual relationship. My reading of that paragraph (about 10 years ago, the previous time she had an affair) is that that was consensual, or at least not unconsensual. My reading is that at the time she met him for the 2nd time, she was still heartbroken at him for having broken up 10 years ago.

The translation you linked to also misses an important note on the phrase "逼我和你发生关系". Presumably the "rape allegation" narrative is based on this phrase. The problem however is that 逼 could mean either “to pressure [to have sex]” or “to force [to have sex]”; its meaning is ambiguous. It could be something like "my parents forced me to become doctor" (they didn't literally force, they nagged until you agree).

There is no doubt that Zhao is a manipulative jerk and that he engaged in unacceptable questionable acts. But given the ambiguity of this phrase, plus the fact that the rest of the text is not focused on that single even, makes some wonder whether this is even a rape allegation at all. The rest of the text say things like "I reopened my love for you", "we are so compatible", "we could talk endlessly". Some believe that this is more like her venting that he played with her feelings and then dumped her.

zozbot234 · 9 days ago

She clearly says that she was in tears and panicking when he pressured her for sex the second time. There's very little ambiguity there: this is a serious allegation of lack of true consent, not just emotional venting.

temp8964 · 9 days ago

The "'rape allegation' narrative" is your imagination. Most news reports did not use the word "rape". "sexual assault" is commonly used in reporting this case. The Economist does not use rape either. "coercive sexual relationship" appeared in the first sentence. Stop making strawman attack.

tomatofarmer · 9 days ago

Why was it censored within 30 minutes? Surely a benign post would not lead to such extreme government efforts.

FooBarWidget · 9 days ago

Because censorship doesn't work the way you think it works. See https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29344676

tomatofarmer · 9 days ago

It works exactly how I think it works.

As long as no one takes notice, I am free to say whatever I want.

You should reflect on how much effort you spend defending such a regime all over this website, twitter, and elsewhere.

guscost · 9 days ago

Thank you for the source.

9tailedkitsune · 9 days ago

The media never picks up on this, as expected

altern2 · 9 days ago

The whole story is bs. She took some time of from social media after ending a complicated relationship and posting something she really shouldn't have.

Who had the right to declare her missing in the first place? Which meetings didn't she show up for? Which family members couldn't contact her?

Now that they've decided that she was missing the anti-china crowd are in the very convenient situation where they can discard everything they don't like.

She makes a statement to Chinese news? Fake. Forced. Doesn't sound right.

She posts pictures on wechat? Staged, deep-fake, oh and is that a Winnie the Pooh picture in the background? Clearly a cry for help!

She appears on video? They have a gun to her head! They are acting weird!

She talks to the IOC? Everyone knows China controls the IOC!

The only thing they will accept if she denounces Xi Jinping as the literal antichrist.

zahma · 9 days ago

I’m very happy to see WTA take it directly to the Olympic level and also threaten to recall WTA tournaments in China.

Note the third para that describes the censorship. How despicably efficient is the Chinese censorship apparatus that they caught this and deleted it within an hour and commenced with clean-up. They knew this could have incited dissent.

If this is the “utopia” that awaits us in the up-and-coming centralized walled gardens of software, count me out.

spinny · 9 days ago

I wonder if the readers/commenters realize there is a massive blackout about this in China. All this propaganda is directed at us.

check Laowhy86's video about this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Dc4tNY7S6Q

GordonS · 9 days ago

I don't want to detract from the main story, because we need to call this out regardless of the source nation, but it really does grind my gears the way that Western politicians use this kind of thing to strengthen the anti-Chinese FUD, when there are similar issues at home they could actually do something about, but don't (or worse, even support it - usually "because terrorists, paedos, foreigners etc").

GordonS · 9 days ago

Ach, I added this comment to the wrong parent - it was meant as a response to @boomskats's comment mentioning Julian Assange.

bamboozled · 9 days ago

Julian Assange…

zjyeung · 9 days ago

I wouldn't trust Laowhy86's videos on topics about China. His channel is very clear on anti-china progaganda.

spinny · 9 days ago

He is actually very clear on that. He is anti-CCP. China != CCP

hogFeast · 9 days ago

A distinction that the CCP is clear to confuse. I believe his wife is Chinese, he lived in the country for a long time and his videos clearly show that he has no real problem with the Chinese people (if you had a problem with Chinese people...why would you move to China? It makes no sense, there must be some psychological bias where people see bigotry everywhere), he just doesn't like the CCP (tbh, his account of why he left China justifies that view, he may not be telling the truth, I don't really care tbh but that is his story). For some reason, people will view not liking the CCP as a slight against all Chinese people but those same people will usually dislike America with same venom they see in others...funny that.

But yeah, his videos are partisan, there is nothing wrong with being partisan and having an opinion. People are free to have opinions whether other people agree or disagree, whether they are justified by reason or changes in the stars. You can also watch a video that is partisan, agree with some of it, disagree with some of it without attempting to generalise that person's views as totally correct or incorrect...most people are not totally correct or incorrect all the time (ofc, this notion of truth is something that authoritarian govts fundamentally disagree with, having a monopoly on objective truth is a source of political and cultural control).

pphysch · 9 days ago

The CCP has some 100,000,000 active members and >90% domestic approval rate. You simply cannot decouple it from "China" in any meaningful social, political, or economic manner without resorting to boring Orientalist/"white savior" narratives.

throwaway_sb666 · 9 days ago

His channel is clearly anti-CCP. He's married to a Chinese woman, and I believe genuinely loves China.

TeeMassive · 9 days ago

He was very pro-China until he had to literally escape with his family in-extremis while being hunted down.

perlpimp · 9 days ago

All this sort of material and should be talked directly at the Beijing Olympics 2022. There is no way they can just swipe this under a rag.

justicezyx · 9 days ago

What for?

You think CCP had make anything out that sports community can have a talking point?

ipnon · 9 days ago

>His tabloid then tweeted what looked like staged videos of Ms Peng having dinner at a restaurant with her coach and meeting children at a tennis event.

Is the production of deepfakes by the world's largest internal security service outside the domain of plausibility? A smart programmer can crank one out in a weekend by themself. What can an entire cyber security bureau accomplish with the backing of the CCP?

pphysch · 9 days ago

a) Peng is represented by a deep faked body clone while she rots in a See See Pee blacksite.

b) Washington media is blowing literally any scandal out of proportion in a propaganda blitz aimed at tarnishing Beijing 2022.

Occam's Razor, anyone?

rectang · 9 days ago

The WTA is threatening to pull billions of dollars out of business out of China. The outcry is coming from all over the world, not just "Washington media".

And if you believe the scandal is being "blown out of proportion", well there are a lot of us who disagree.

pphysch · 9 days ago

Propaganda is good business.

AlexandrB · 9 days ago

It's funny, I tried applying Occam's Razor and was not able to find the simplest conclusion. Especially since in (b) "Washington media" should actually read "WTA and the women's tennis community".

pphysch · 9 days ago

Please don't disingenuously pretend that you or 99% of the people unseriously frothing over this scandal are subscribed to WTA newsletters, and did not first hear about it from your corporate media sources.

lostdog · 9 days ago

c) She was kept locked up and threatened, and was trotted out for a few hours here and there as a photo op to cover up her imprisonment.

alkonaut · 9 days ago

I wish another org would follow suit ahead of the Winter Olympics. A brilliant move would be if the ice hockey tournament would be moved to Taiwan, much like the world championships were pulled from Belarus recently. Who would lose? Sponsors would be happy, players would be happy.

outside1234 · 9 days ago

Or the whole thing to Taiwan.

It's China after all (according to China alone).

duud · 9 days ago

It might be a bit warm in Taiwan for the Winter Olympics. And it's barely China alone who see it as China.


robbedpeter · 9 days ago

Most hockey is played inside arenas.


Taiwan actually has a hockey scene, I'm sure they'd love to host.

msoad · 9 days ago

Every time there is a story that criticizes China's Communist Party there is a flood of troll-like comments here in Hacker News. Lot of "What about X" comments and just general trolling and uncivil behavior.

As a non-Chinese I never could understand the relationship of CCP, Chinese nationals and Chinese immigrants in the US and West. To me, it seems very hyocritcal to live in the Western societies and be very pro-CCP. I have interacted with many Chinese immigrants that defend CCP at any cost. I'm very confused about it.

robbedpeter · 9 days ago

HN is weird. Articles, stories, and conversations show up here before getting to content aggregators or social media, and it's ahead of the curve by hours. Focusing a/b tests here gives you a strategic edge in controlling a narrative further downstream, and can give you a sample of what arguments can close down a discussion, or exactly how to script your sock puppets so that people feel their opinion is represented within a discussion.

I'm pretty sure this happens because people in ycombinator circles use HN as a high quality content pipeline, and because of dang's impeccable curation, front page HN content gets greenlit for immediate display. If you see something on HN, it'll almost inevitably show up on Slashdot, Reddit, Facebook, and a slew of other smaller sites and forums, often unchanged from its presentation here.

HN also has the bonus that many silicon valley movers and shakers frequent the site and join the discussions. China's troll generals would be foolish not to capitalize on that.

As far as immigrants defending ccp that's usually because they have family back in China and would like to see them again some day. Their family's social standing could take a hit if they are insufficiently "patriotic," even in the US. China's got social influence inside the US, and extensive networks of casual spies that report problematic behaviors, ranging from local cultural clubs and groups to college and campus outreach organizations. It's very (darkly) sophisticated.

burntbridge · 9 days ago

I think the problem here is people in the West see things in the following way:

Chinese system inherently evil.

Western system inherently good.

When a bad thing happens in the West; we condemn it but don't see it as the overall system being evil. When a bad thing happens in China; we condemn it and see it as further evidence of the fundamental evil of the system.

I think the Chinese basically have faith in their Government in spite of its short comings.

jjcc · 9 days ago

Let's go deeper. Not many people know why human invented the concept of evil.

Most animals especially mammals evolved by the arm race between the predators and the preys to perfect their power,agility and intelligence. The algorithm is called GAN. There are few extreme instances that GAN between predators and preys is not enough. Human is among the few primates that often kill their own species. Competition and cooperation are 2 parts of evolution. The extreme competition is war among human tribes. We have the nature of fighting and killing other human even the society become civilized.

The concept of "evil" emerged as a reason to justify the killing of our same species. You can get that from a lot of Hollywood movies. There's a spiritual need for evil to exist.

That's why NATO can bomb the oppressive regimes all over the world everywhere. Because they are collectively supported by the people of NATO countries. When something's wrong they collectively blame wrong information. What I mean is: "Weapons of Massive Destruction was caused by intelligence failure" is a bigger lie than WMD itself. It's also cannot be blamed on a few politicians who are democratically elected by people. The real reason is there was a spiritual need for evil so the people were easily fooled.

Even today after millions of people's life were ruined and there are massive waves of immigration people in NATO countries still don't connect the cause end effects, never realize that it was their own arrogant belief that they own democracy and human rights, along with they have superior weapons to liberate the people from oppressive regimes, cause the chaos world today.

Will they wake up? not likely. The retreat from Afghanistan was because of running out of resource but not because realize it was fundamentally wrong.

FooBarWidget · 9 days ago

Ah yes fellow Chinese are bad at explaining to westerners. As a more westernized Chinese who started researching west-vs-China differences a few years ago, I could help you better understand -- if you are open minded enough and willing to change some of your views. Are you in? If so ask me anything, either here or in private.

msoad · 9 days ago

Please go ahead and explain. I'm genuinely curious. The best defend I've heard is "my parents generation were farmers but now living in a nice apartment thanks to CCP so we are thankful for what they did..."

FooBarWidget · 9 days ago

Ok what do you want to start with? It's a big topic.