33 minutes | Dec 30, 2021

Peng Shuai Disappearance and the IOC with Peter Dahlin

Peter Dahlin discusses his Open Letter to the International Olympic Committee “IOC” about the disappearance of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai. The IOC has helped the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) kill the story rather than helping ensure Peng’s safety and freedom. Dahlin explains why the IOC's actions are so problematic. In this episode, we talk about… The use of disappearance in China as a tool of the State Why Peng’s media appearances fit a pattern of staged public appearances for disappeared people Peng’s sexual assault allegations that led to her disappearance and the lack of a #MeToo movement in China How the IOC is doing the bidding of the CCP Why Peng is better off with consistent international attention The contrast between the IOC’s response to Peng’s disappearance and that of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) The IOC’s failure to be politically neutral What the IOC could have done instead What athletes and others concerned about Peng’s safety can do going forward Memorable Quotes: “We know for sure that she is not free and that leaves only two options. One is that she is placed under house arrest where she has minders from the police controlling her at home and guiding every aspect of her life. Or if that is not enough or is not suitable for them, instead placing her into the RSDL system.” “The #MeToo movement has largely ignored China. In China they have successfully – through censorship – managed to keep this movement and these discussions at bay. It’s very important for them to do that because every society is plagued with these issues, but China is particularly prone to sexual misconduct and the use of power relations from older men against younger women. It’s almost built into the governance system. So, the fact that she could spark a greater movement related to Me Too – that’s what really is the big concern within the party.” “The reason I was angry enough to write this letter is that we know with certainty that attention helps – when they’re inside, the treatment gets better. Whether it’s media attention, diplomatic pressure – it doesn’t really matter. It helps every single time. So, the fact that [the IOC] is assisting the Chinese Communist Party in killing the story is troublesome because they are intentionally hurting an athlete rather than helping said athlete.” “We don’t know whether or not this man is guilty for sure but it does fit a very common behavior in China, and what we need to push for here is a proper investigation. The IOC has an important role to play here because this person is the director of the committee handling preparations for the Games. It’s incredibly important the IOC at the very least act impartially.” “I don’t think anyone is looking at expanding a boycott of the Games because I don’t think anyone really wants that, especially at this late stage. And I don’t think anyone is expecting athletes to speak out at the Games because that could bring them in jeopardy as well. Right now, it’s more important on pushing the IOC to actually adhere to their neutrality and continue to raise her case in media, in social media, etc.” Guest Bio: Peter Dahlin is a human rights activist and the director of Safeguard Defenders, a human rights NGO that undertakes and supports local field activities that contribute to the protection of basic rights, promote the rule of law, and enhance the ability of local civil society and human rights defenders in some of the most hostile environments in Asia. In 2016, Dahlin was secretly detained (disappeared) in China for 23 days for running a Beijing-based rights organization called China Action – the predecessor to Safeguard Defenders. While detained Dahlin was blindfolded, denied access to his embassy, exhaustively interrogated, and kept from sleeping. After his detention, he was deported from China under the espionage act Links to Resources: Dahlin’s Open Letter to IOC on Peng Shuai  Safeguard Defenders  Article from The Guardian about Dahlin’s Disappearance: A human rights activist, a secret prison and a tale from Xi Jinping's new China New York Times Article about the China, the IOC, and Peng Shuai: Its Human Rights Record in Question, China Turns to an Old Friend  Follow Dahlin on Twitter @Peterinexile and follow Global Athlete @GlobalAthleteHQ . Get in touch a t hello@globalathlete.org and join the movement at globalathlete.org .
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