Tennis champion Peng Shuai took to social media earlier this month to accuse a former top-ranking official in the Chinese Communist Party of sexually assaulting her. Within 30 minutes the post was scrubbed from the internet in China. She disappeared and no one has heard directly from her since.
For decades, Western athletes, celebrities and corporations have diligently kept silent in the face of Chinese human-rights violations. International hotel chains, airlines, apparel brands, sports leagues and Hollywood studios have steered away from “sensitive topics” such as Tibet’s independence, the Uyghur genocide, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement and Taiwan’s sovereignty.