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Peng Shuai’s disappearance: what happened to the Chinese tennis star?

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Peng Shuai’s disappearance: what happened to the Chinese tennis star?

Who is Peng Shuai?

Peng Shuai, 35, is one of China’s most well-known athletes. She was the previous World No. 1 in tennis doubles and reached No. 14 in singles rankings, as well as winning two grand slams in women’s doubles at Wimbledon in 2013 and the 2014 French Open. She also competed in the Olympics on several occasions.

Peng has been the subject of international suspicion and alarm since she made sexual assault charges against a top former government official earlier this month and has been missing since.

What went wrong?

Peng accused China’s former vice-premier, Zhang Gaoli, of sexually abusing her in a lengthy statement posted to Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media network, on November 2.

Peng claimed she and Zhang, now 75, had an on-again, off-again illicit “relationship” for several years. Zhang had ceased contacting Peng after rising through the Communist party ranks, but he invited her to play tennis with him and his wife approximately three years ago, and then sexually abused her in his home, according to Peng.

Peng said in her Weibo post that she couldn’t present any proof of her allegations, but she was determined to make them public. “I’ll reveal the truth about you like an egg hitting a rock or a moth to the flame, seeking self-destruction,” she wrote.

The charge marks the most serious level of the #MeToo movement in China, which has failed to gain traction due to censorship, an opaque court system, and social and political antagonism. There has never been a public complaint leveled against a senior Chinese Communist Party official, let alone one as high-ranking as Zhang.

What was China’s reaction?

The post was quickly removed by China’s rigorous censors, but it went viral regardless. Censors cracked down as people tried to discuss and share the news, censoring phrases like “tennis,” deactivating comments on Peng’s account, and erasing countless references to her from China’s internet.

There has been no response from the government. Zhang, a member of the CCP’s top leadership body, the seven-member Politburo Standing Committee, has not reacted to media inquiries or made any public pronouncements. The spokeswoman for China’s ministry of foreign affairs, who deals with foreign media, has stated that the incident is not a diplomatic matter and that he is unaware of it.

What has been the reaction of the tennis community?

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), through its CEO Steve Simon, has asked that Peng’s charges be thoroughly investigated. The Chinese Tennis Association (CTA) had “assured” Simon that Peng was “safe and not under any physical threat,” but no one from the WTA was able to contact her to confirm.

Simon made it clear in multiple speeches and interviews that the WTA anticipated action on Peng’s charges, and that they were willing to risk lucrative access to the Chinese market to do so. Simon stated that claims of sexual assault against one of their players were an area where no compromise could be made.

“We’re definitely willing to pull our business and deal with all the complications that come with it,” Simon told CNN. “Because this is certainly, this is bigger than the business. Women need to be respected and not censored.”

Tennis players have also joined the effort, frequently using the hashtag #whereisPengShuai in their posts. Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, Kim Clijsters, Martina Navratilova, and Stanislas Wawrinka were among the tennis players who demanded an explanation. Gerard Piqué, the founder and head of the investment firm that co-runs the Davis Cup, also made a post to his 20.1 million Instagram followers.

The International Olympic Committee is now being urged to intervene. Beijing will host the Winter Olympics in February, and there have already been demands for a boycott. The IOC declined to comment, instead stating cryptically, “Experience demonstrates that calm diplomacy offers the best opportunity to find a solution for such concerns.”

Where is she?

CGTN, China’s state-run English-language broadcaster, said Peng had emailed Simon to say “everything is great” just as demands for answers were increasing. The station provided proof by tweeting a snapshot of a piece of text that it said was the email.

“The news in that [WTA press] release, including the allegation of sexual assault, is not true. I’m not missing, nor I am unsafe. I’ve just been resting at home and everything is fine. Thank you again for caring about me.”

The notion that the email came from Peng was disregarded by Simon and the WTA, who stated it merely added to his concerns.

“I have a hard time believing that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email we received or believes what is being attributed to her.”

There were other factors that contributed to the suspicion. The letter’s phrasing was comparable to earlier coerced confessions by Chinese captives, the screenshot featured a visible cursor in the text, and it was never published in Chinese or anywhere else in the world.

Hu Xijin, an editor of the fiery state-media tabloid Global Times, stated on Friday that he did not believe Shuai had faced any “retaliation.” Hu, who is known for his candor, did not identify the claim, instead of alluding to “the things people talk about,” a sign of the sensitivity in China.

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Lyrics

Drake – Practice lyrics

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Drake – Practice lyrics

“Drake – Practice lyrics”

[Intro]
Yeah, Cash Money shit, Cash Money shit

[Verse 1]
I can tell that money’s got you working
We’ve been talking for so long, now we’re finally here in person
I taste pain and regret in your sweat
You’ve been waiting for me, oh
I can tell that you been practicing
I can tell that you been practicing
All those other men were practice, they were practice
Yeah, for me, for me, for me, for me

[Chorus]
Girl, you look good, won’t you back that ass up?
You a fine motherfucker, won’t you back that ass up?
Call me big daddy, won’t you back that ass up?
Girl, who is you playing with? Back that ass up
You workin’ with some ass, yeah, you bad, yeah (Uh, uh, uh)
Girl, you workin’ with some ass, yeah, you bad, yeah (Uh, uh, uh)

[Verse 2]
Girl, you workin’ with some ass, yeah, you bad, yeah
Make a nigga spend his cash, yeah, his last, yeah
Hoes frown when you pass, yeah, they mad, yeah
Couple thousand on your bag, yeah, fuck yeah
I’m a Big Tymer nigga, yeah, money flipper, yeah
Get it understood, yeah, it’s all good, yeah
Girl, I know what’s real ’cause I’ve been around it
You only want what’s real, you just never found it, ah
Don’t give them no more chances, ooh, girl, they had their turn
Everything for a reason, there’s things you had to learn from them
But when I get you to myself, you know what’s going down
What’s going down, oh

[Chorus]
Girl, you look good, won’t you back that ass up?
You a fine motherfucker, won’t you back that ass up?
Call me big daddy, won’t you back that ass up?
Girl, who is you playing with? Back that ass up
You workin’ with some ass, yeah, you bad, yeah (Uh, uh, uh)
Girl, you workin’ with some ass, yeah, you bad, yeah (Uh, uh, uh)

[Verse 3]
Yeah, I know he messed up, but let a real nigga make it right
Let a real nigga make it right, you deserve that much
Let me put somethin’ in your life
Let me put somethin’ in your life, put somethin’ in your life
You tellin’ me it’s only been a couple other people that you’ve been with
I’ma trust you, I’ma give you the benefit of the doubt and I’ma love you
You can even call me daddy, give you someone to look up to

[Refrain]
And my girls from the 504 need to drop it right now, uh
Need to drop it right now
All my girls from the 504 need to drop it right now
Need to drop it right now
All my girls from the 504 need to drop it right now
Need to drop it right now
All my girls from the 504 need to drop it right now
Need to drop it right now, oh

[Bridge]
After you back it up, then stop (Back it up, baby)
After you back it up, then stop (Uh, hey, babygirl)
After you back it up, then stop (Yeah)
After you back it up, then stop

[Outro]
I can tell that money’s got you working
That your body’s so wet and we’re finally here in person
I taste pain and regret in your sweat
You’ve been waiting for me, oh
I can tell that you been practicing
I can tell that you been practicing
All those other men were practice, they were practice
Yeah, for me, for me, for me, for me

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Lyrics

Juice WRLD & The Weeknd – Smile lyrics

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Juice WRLD & The Weeknd – Smile lyrics

“Juice WRLD & The Weeknd – Smile lyrics”

[Chorus: Juice WRLD]
I’d do anything in my power to see you just smile
I want you to prosper and come proper
Even if that means I ain’t by your side
I’d do anything in my power to see you just smile
I want you to prosper and come proper
Even if that means I ain’t by your side

[Verse 1: Juice WRLD]
Devil on my shoulder tellin’ me I’ll die soon
I don’t really want that to impact you
But I don’t know, maybe I’m just paranoid
I just want the best for you, I just want what’s left of you
Oh, you tell me that you’re sad inside
I’m sad that I can’t satisfy
Yeah, I pray that I get it right this time
Maybe we’ll be alright
Oh, you tell me that you’re sad inside
I’m sad that I can’t satisfy
Yeah, I pray that I get it right this time
Maybe we’ll be alright

[Chorus: Juice WRLD]
I’d do anything in my power to see you just smile
I want you to prosper and come proper
Even if that means I ain’t by your side
I’d do anything in my power to see you just smile
I want you to prosper and come proper
Even if that means I ain’t by your side

[Verse 2: The Weeknd]
Oh yeah
I just wanna see you smile (You smile)
Don’t cry (Don’t cry, yeah)
Even though it means I gotta let you go (Yeah)
Dependent on ya, gotta learn to be alone (‘Lone)
‘Cause I’m so desensitized
When our skin is touching (Yeah), I need drugs to love you (Yeah)
You want so much more from me, but I can only fuck you (You)
I spent every day right beside you (‘Side you), ‘side you (‘Side you)
A hundred pics of me on your phone
Now you’re someone that I used to know
At this point, we playin’ with fire (Fire), fire (Fire)
You don’t wanna see what’s in my phone
It’s just gonna hurt you more (More)

[Chorus: Juice WRLD & The Weeknd]
I’d do anything in my power to see you just smile (Oh yeah)
I want you to prosper and come proper
Even if that means I ain’t by your side (Oh, oh)
I’d do anything in my power (My power) to see you just smile
I want you to prosper and come proper
Even if that means I ain’t by your side

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Lyrics

The Weeknd – Rolling Stone lyrics

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The Weeknd – Rolling Stone lyrics

“The Weeknd – Rolling Stone lyrics”

[Intro]
Ooh
Yeah, yeah, yeah

[Verse 1]
Now you’re thinkin’ ’bout it
Girl you’re thinkin’ ’bout it
What we got here
How we fuckin’ got here
They recognized
They just recognize
I’m in a life without a home so this recognition’s not enough
I don’t care about nobody else
Cause I’ve been on these streets way too long, too long, too long
Baby, I’ve been on this too long

[Verse 2]
‘Cause getting faded too long
Got me on this rolling stone
So I take another hit
Kill another serotonin
With a hand full of beans
And a chest full of weed
Got me singing ’bout a bitch
While I’m blowing out my steam
Yeah, I know I got my issues
Why you think I fuckin’ flow?
And I’ma keep on smoking ’til I can’t hit another note

[Chorus]
Ooh, but until then
I got you, ooh
Baby, I got you, ooh
Until you’re used to my face
And my mystery fades
I got you, ooh

[Verse 3]
So, baby, love me, oh
Before they all love me
Until you won’t love me, oh
Because they’ll all love me, ooh
I’ll be different, oh
I think I’ll be different, ooh
I hope I’m not different, oh
And I hope you’ll still listen

[Chorus]
But until then
Baby, I got you, ooh
I got you, oh, ohh
Girl, I still got you, oh-ohh
And I got you, ooh, woah

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