The IOC’s treatment of missing Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai is worrisome

Last week, Human Rights Watch send a public letter addressed to the International Olympic Committee, a population organization that owns and operates the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, calling on the IOC to stop promoting “Chinese state propaganda” regarding the alleged assault tennis star Peng Shuai against former Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China Zhang Gaoli, and the subsequent disappearance.

“The IOC has tried to keep quiet about Beijing’s poor human rights record to active cooperation with the Chinese government in undermining freedom of expression and disregarding allegations of sexual assault,” he said. quotes Yaqiu Wang, a policy researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The IOC appears to explain its relationship with a major human rights violator regarding the rights and safety of Olympic athletes.”

There’s something bitterly funny about HRW embarrassing the IOC for promoting authoritarianism, because even a quick read of the IOC’s history can make this point clear: IOC love facilitate authoritarianism. Can’t get enough of it. Asking the IOC to stop cooperating with autocratic, violent forces is like asking your dog to stop eating cat poop in the trash. Sure, they might look at you with sad eyes for a second, but they’re just overjoyed for that precious piece of delicious poop.

For those unfamiliar with what’s been going on so far: On November 2, Peng Shuai, a 35-year-old Chinese tennis star, was the world’s No. 1 ranked doubles player in 2014, posted a message on Weibo, the People’s Republic of China’s state management agency. social network. She claims that in 2007 she was raped by Gaoli, a powerful member of the Communist Party, and that she was pressured into a non-reciprocal relationship with the politician until 2007. 2018.. Shuai’s post was removed from Weibo by state censors, but the bird was out of the cage: her accusations spread through social channels like fire. China’s state censors have gone as far as to remove the use of Shuai’s name and even the word “tennis” from the platform.


Peng Shuai of China serves during a match against Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia on day three of the ASB Classic at the ASB Tennis Center on January 5, 2011, in Auckland, New Zealand.

Phil Walter / Getty

Shuai disappeared from public view for two weeks. Women’s Tennis Association, many business organizations in China, openly criticizing the government’s response to the Shuai allegations, a taboo against federations seeking to operate in the country, while tennis stars draw worldwide attention to the matter. On November 17, China State Media released a dubious claims they claim are from Shuai, where “she” says the allegation is false, and that the WTA shouldn’t say anything else about her without first addressing the matter with her.

“I hope to promote Chinese tennis to all of you if I have a chance in the future. I hope Chinese tennis will get better and better,” the announcement read. On the 20th, an editor at Global Times, a Chinese state media enterprise, posted a video of Shuai having dinner and “confirmed” the date on Twitter:

Another video shared by Chinese state media, released the next morning, claimed to show Shuai attending a tennis match, though again the video was short and shot close-up, leading to the allegation that it was also likely staged:

Not a series of convincing posts about Shuai’s health. WTA continues to be upset about this, announced that they are willing to withdraw from their China events if the government does not conduct a full investigation into Shuai’s claims. (A dubious commit if you ask me, but it’s great that they’re trying.)

On the other hand, the IOC has opted to engage in so-called “quiet diplomacy” on the matter, a bureaucratic-sports term for “interference with autocracy.” On November 20, Thomas Bach, president of the IOC, seemed to talked to Peng via web feed for half an hour, while a member of the Chinese Olympic Committee joined the call. There is no video or transcript of the conversation and Bach would not speak if he asked about Shuai’s sexual assault allegations against Gaoli. Bach announced that he suggested they have dinner during the upcoming Winter Olympics, which start next February in Beijing. One of Bach’s lieutenants said that Shuai seemed relaxed. See? Everything is A-OK. Don’t worry, IOC is there in this case!

On the other hand, the WTA has so far not been able to talk to Shuai. Then again, their stance on this is that they want to “confirm that she has the right to freedom of movement” and “not be forced to make statements because she is concerned for her safety.” all your own”. On the other hand, the IOC is going very well and is interesting. Just ask Dick Pound, their longest running board member: “What the IOC establishes is that silent and discreet diplomacy gets you better than clashing cymbals… That’s not how you deal with any country, certainly not with China. Accusing the IOC of being complicit in China’s propaganda efforts built around Peng is utter nonsense.”

Unreasonable! Absolutely no IOC thing when collaborate with an authoritarian government seeking to spread a dubious message:


Now, I don’t like to think that Xi’s government is equal, brutal and wise, with Hitler’s regime. But the shame of Berlin ’36 — and the IOC’s respect for Nazi propaganda ministers — should be the first thing the IOC thinks about whenever they decide to do business. any where. Of course not. If anything, the Nazi Olympics, which the German government spent a whopping $30 million (US) to organize — more than all the previous games combined. — became the IOC model for every Olympics that followed. Next Berlin, The IOC is used to working with “flexible” governments who will support the privilege and prestige of hosting games. and who will double the crazy scene Reach every monetized eyeball it can. Even after the historic catastrophe of ’36, considerations such as democracy and state violence would be overturned just before being thrown into the bucket full of money they extracted from the communities they were born into.

Like everyone else capricious pillar of global capital in the world, the IOC asserts that its massive money-printing operation is truly an act of peace and progress — the harbinger of an open world, spreading democracy more and more widely. In 2001, when China was first awarded the tournament, François Carrard, then the Director General of the IOC, say that the IOC is “… fully aware that there is an issue at stake, and that is human rights. Or you say because of some serious human rights issue we shut down, put in a vote as a punitive measure and hope things go for the better. The other way is to bet on openness. We are betting that we will see a lot of change.”

“Or you say because of some serious human rights issue we shut down, put in a vote as a punitive measure and hope things go for the better. The other way is to bet on openness. We are betting that we will see many changes.”

Of course, they saw changes after the Beijing Olympics. People’s Republic of China has become than oppression, crushing dissent across the country, using surveillance technology like no other government in human history, using a soft power approach to silence even swift objections from their global corporate partnersand locked up to 2 million Uighurs in what critics have called an “ongoing genocide.”

Here’s how it plays out wherever the IOC touches: a gentle nod towards global peace, followed by authoritarian flexibility to make the game work. And no one is immune – not even the United States.

Los Angeles Police Department, one Overwhelmed with American authoritarianism if ever, see the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics as an opportunity. They said, hey, if all these people were from out of town, we’d want all the surrounding areas to be nice and safe, so there wouldn’t be any international incidents or what have you. The LAPD immediately used federally allocated security funds to militarize their division, purchasing tons of machine guns, infrared equipment, and tanks that they didn’t see much use in during the Olympics. but do Finally used in the trash the suspected drug drive.

The LAPD also took advantage of the opportunity to hire and quickly train a host of new officers, who embarked on the important job of clearing as many unscrupulous people as possible from the LA Coliseum. Then when the Olympics ended, they actually kept the money and the tanks and the SWAT teams and the militarized approach. Los Angeles is expected to host games again in 2028, and the LAPD has already wheel lubrication others big, permanent budget increase, using the game as a pretense.


Olympic rings are displayed outside the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

David Ramos / Getty

Governments have continued to use the Olympics as an excuse for authoritarian projects. Rio used 2016 games to increased lethal police presence in local slums. London in 2012 gave them the resources to extending an already cumbersome local surveillance state. Sochi 2014 in Russia takes place in the shadow of Vladimir Putin Strong attacks on Russia’s gay community, member of the punk-rock band Pussy Riot whipped by Cossacks while protesting the Olympicsand above all, unmarked Russian forces flooded the Crimea region of Ukraine four days after the game ends. However, I am sure that the democratizing influence of the IOC added half a day of consideration.

Wherever the Olympics go, authoritarianism follows. They present a dual opportunity for any government that allows it to participate: on the one hand, reshaping public spaces to serve the needs of police and property developers, and on the other. international expansion to serve the needs of international propaganda. The IOC doesn’t care about this, or whatever, as long as they get paid for their services and are appreciated by the media.

Fun Fact: Did you know that the Olympic Torch Relay is brainchild of Nazi official Carl Diem? The torch was lit atop Olympus, the site of the ancient Greek Olympics, and passed through Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Austria and Czechoslovakia, before reaching Berlin, where the flame was lit by the athlete. German and Fritz Schilgen, who was in charge of the future of the IOC and used to light a large cauldron in the middle of the Olympic stadium, surrounded by hundreds of red cross flags.

The symbol of the flame leaves the birthplace of Western civilization, crosses a series of countries that Hitler will invade over the next decade, and finds its pinnacle home in the heart of the German empire. Developing Nazism is rather chills, in retrospect. You would think the IOC would throw this in the trash after the second war ended and they were ready to go again. But they don’t think so. Their website commemorating the event makes no mention of these evil energies at all, or in 1945 Diem gave a speech at Olympic Stadium for thousands of Hitler Youth, encouraging them to fight the Red Army to the death, like the Spartans of old. They just don’t care about the lowliness they’ve activated at all. Attracting their good nature is a waste of time. They do not have. The IOC’s treatment of missing Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai is worrisome


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