Sunday, 28 November 2021

‘To protect one retired leader, China’s bungling censors turned the Peng Shuai mess into a major incident…’

Wang Xiangwei’s take is similar to mine a few days back: clumsy, botched self-defeating efforts at top-down censorship of Peng Shuai’s claims that she was forced into sex with Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.

But that end-of-day they don’t care so much about the international reactions as they do about making sure no one in China gets the idea they can get away with criticising senior leaders. Especially given forthcoming “elections” of new members to the supreme Politburo Standing Committee. I put “election” in quotes because the outcome will already have been decided and elections are just needed for the formality.

But there’s a bright spot, or two, here.

First that Peng is out and about, seemingly unharmed, at least physically. And that’s the result of international pressure. Pressure worked, this time, because Beijing is worried about possible boycott of the Winter Olympics opening in February. 

Second is simply the fact that an article like this has appeared in our very own South China Morning Post. 

The article is written by Wang Xiangwei, a former editor-in-chief of the paper now resident in Beijing. After the crack down here in Hong Kong last year and the promulgation of a swingeing National Security Law, I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop. So far, cross fingers, it hasn’t and pieces strongly critical of Chinese malfeasance continue. That’s good. And good on the Post !