Let’s play a little hypothetical game, shall we?
Suppose you accuse a very powerful politician of serious wrongdoing, in this case rape. Let’s say you do this on social media, but half an hour after you post the allegation, it gets removed.
And for purposes here, let’s say you’re a Celebrity Athlete. Let’s say a professional tennis player who is world No. 1 as a doubles player. Just like Peng Shuai from China.
And let’s say you disappear from public view for three weeks after the post, shocking your friends and colleagues and the world of professional tennis.
And let’s assume you only reappear in videos and images released by the state media in China, a nation with a long history and even present where torture, murder, rape, imprisonment, etc. have been used, um Enforce compliance and corruption.
And let’s say the Winter Olympics are being held in China. And let’s assume that China has established that the International Olympic Committee is willing to repeat its propaganda on almost any issue, including the genocide of ethnic minorities. Therefore, it is easy work for them to pretend that you are fine and safe and free. So IOC President Thomas Bach jumps to the task.
And let’s say, to further reassure people that you didn’t accuse a Deputy Prime Minister of rape and then disappeared for three weeks, you’re told to sit down for an interview with one French sports publication.
Of course, this will not be just any interview. Suppose the questions must be submitted in advance. And let’s say a member of the Chinese Olympic Committee (or State Security, because who really knows) has to watch the interview, even though you’re a 35-year-old international tennis star who’s more than capable of conducting the interview yourself .
And let’s assume you knew that you cannot tell the truth about everything that happened because it would put you and your friends and family in great danger.
But let’s say you wanted to spread your message anyway. Let’s say you wanted to sound like someone who isn’t free and okay, even though you say you are free and okay. Let’s say you wanted to make it clear that you stand by the rape allegation, but make it sound like you don’t stand by the rape allegation. Suppose you try to call for help without calling for help.
Do you know what you would do?
They would sound exactly like Peng Shuai in her comments to L’Equipe, a French newspaper. And then you would hope someone read carefully.
You would say things like, “Sexual assault? I never said anyone forced me into a sexual assault.”
Except for that first post, which was 1,600 words, you said former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli “brought me to your house to force me to have sex with you… I couldn’t describe how disgusted I was and how often I did.” I asked myself, ‘am I still human?’ I feel like a walking corpse.”
Suppose you were asked about this? They would describe it as “an enormous misunderstanding” and demand that it “no longer be distorted”.
As for your disappearance: “I never disappeared.” As for the people who think you need help: “Why would I need psychological help?” To delete the post: “I wanted to.”
In fact, you would be trying to say that people shouldn’t mix “emotions, sports and politics”. And you would ask yourself, “Why bother?” And you would explain that the reason you didn’t return as many messages, even from the likes of Serena Williams, was because of computer problems and lack of time.
They would say things that didn’t sound believable in hopes that someone out there wouldn’t believe them.
This person will of course not work at the IOC. This organization issued a press release that may have been written by the Chinese Communist Party. Then IOC spokesman Mark Adams doubled down on the absurdity by declaring that nobody should even question whether Peng is okay.
“I don’t think it’s up to us to judge one way or the other, any more than it’s up to you to judge one way or the other,” Adams said.
Look, maybe the IOC can’t do anything for Peng Shuai right now. Even evacuation from the country could put her family in danger. But that doesn’t mean the IOC has to be so willing and enthusiastic to serve as China’s useful git or, worse, perhaps, to berate anyone who, unlike them, hasn’t burned all credibility to bow down to the knees of the to bend the CCP.
Mark Adams may need to ask his Chinese minders if he can judge things for himself. The rest of us, however, are left alone.
“You saw the words in the interview she gave to L’Equipe,” Adams said. “I think we need to listen to her, too, and read what she’s saying.”
We made. This woman is in trouble. Peng Shuai is in trouble. A lot of trouble. She told us herself. Clear as day.
We know Thomas Bach and Mark Adams and the IOC don’t care. We can only hope someone out there does.