In early November, shocking allegations on tennis star Peng Shuai’s Weibo account were leveled at China’s former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli. Peng has since disappeared. The comments and her Weibo account also rapidly disappeared. World tennis champions Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic have publicly expressed their concern for Peng’s safety and whereabouts. They’ve called on China to launch a full and open investigation as soon as possible.
Recently, CGTN (China Global Television Network), the Chinese Communist Party’s major foreign propaganda platform, tweeted a screenshot of what it claimed was a letter from Peng to the president of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA). The so-called ‘Peng letter’ denies the allegations that were made against Zhang and deters the WTA from giving the issue further attention. This letter of dubious origin, however, has raised more concerns than it has allayed.
Aside from this, the first Biden-Xi meeting since Biden’s inauguration has just taken place and the Sixth Plenum of the Chinese Communist Party recently passed its third historical resolution, paving the way for Xi Jinping’s re-election as party leader. What political motives are driving these events and how will they impact U.S.-China tensions and the global status quo?