The world cannot rely on Chinese state media to know if Peng Shuai is free

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Reacting to a statement allegedly made in an email by missing tennis star Peng Shuai, which was released through Chinese state-run broadcaster CGTN, CHRD’s Research and Advocacy Coordinator William Nee said:

“Peng Shuai’s latest statement – released through state media – should not be taken at face value. The Chinese government has a long history of arbitrarily detaining people involved in controversial cases, controlling their ability to speak freely, and making them give forced statements. Until Peng Shuai is free, the burden of proof should be on the Chinese government to prove she is not detained.”

“The WTA, the ATP, and all those who care about sports should continue to speak out until the world can see with their own eyes that Peng Shuai is free and unharmed.”

“Peng Shuai has made important allegations of sexual misconduct and misuse of power, and these claims should not be censored, but should prompt an impartial and fair investigation.” 


Tennis star Peng Shuai has not been heard from ever since she allegedly published a social media post on November 2 accusing former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual misconduct. 

The Chinese government has detained some women who have been vocal in China’s #MeToo movement. Currently, the journalist Huang Xueqin, who had helped publish several #MeToo accounts, is being detained in Guangzhou for unknown reasons on the charge of “inciting subversion.”

In 2021, many of the most prominent feminists and LGBT student groups had their social media accounts censored. 

In 2015, five booksellers from Hong Kong went missing and were detained by Chinese agents. While in secret detention, they sent out misleading letters saying that “everything is fine”  and warning the world not to “hype up” their cases. Chinese authorities have also frequently forced business peoplelawyersNGO workers and others to engage in forced confessions.


William Nee, Research and Advocacy Coordinator, CHRD, +1-623-295-9604, William [at], @williamnee

Ramona Li, Senior Researcher and Advocate (Mandarin, English), +1 202 556 0667, ramonali [at], @RamonaLiCHRD

Renee Xia, Director (Mandarin, English), +1 863 866 1012, reneexia[at], @reneexiachrd

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