‘Where is **?’: Fans in China Elude Censors to Talk About Peng Shuai

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Julien Chen was getting ready for bed when he learned that one of his favorite Chinese tennis players, Peng Shuai, had made #MeToo allegations against a powerful Chinese official. A friend told him to check Ms. Peng’s social media account. “There’s a ‘huge melon’ in the tennis circle,” the friend wrote, using the Chinese metaphor for a bombshell. Mr. Chen couldn’t find anything. He searched the word “tennis,” but Ms. Peng — one of China’s most famous athletes — appeared in barely any results. With stunning efficiency, China’s censors had…

China’s Silence on Peng Shuai Shows Limits of Beijing’s Propaganda

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When the Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai accused a former top leader of sexual assault earlier this month, the authorities turned to a tried-and-true strategy. At home, the country’s censors scrubbed away any mention of the allegations. Abroad, a few state-affiliated journalists focused narrowly on trying to quash concerns about Ms. Peng’s safety. Beijing seems to be relying on a two-pronged approach of maintaining the silence and waiting for the world to move on. The approach suggests that the country’s sprawling propaganda apparatus has limited options for shifting the narrative…

What to Know About Mining in Congo

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What to Know About Mining in Congo Dionne Searcey and Eric Lipton📍Reporting from Democratic Republic of Congo The price of cobalt has skyrocketed in recent years, and the impact is clear in the cobalt-rich area near Kasulo. Trucks driving vats of chemicals rumble onto giant mines that produce hundreds of thousands of tons of ore. But regular people, and sometimes children, also grab a pickax and start digging. They’re known as artisanal miners, as opposed to industrial miners. NYT

As U.S. Hunts for Chinese Spies, University Scientists Warn of Backlash

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That fear comes as China has started to experience a reverse brain drain. Over the last decade, a growing number of Chinese scientists have been lured back to the country by the promise of ample funding, impressive titles and national pride. More recently, scientists returning to China have cited a hostile environment in the United States as a factor. Westlake University, a research university in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, has recruited an impressive roster of talent, including many who once held faculty positions at top American schools. In…

Thomas Bach Is Criticized for His Handling of the Peng Shuai Case

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“What the I.O.C. established is that quiet and discreet diplomacy gets you better than clashing cymbals,” Pound said. “That’s not the way you deal with any country, certainly not with China.” It is unclear how Bach managed to engineer a call with Peng when the WTA Tour and others had been unsuccessful, though the presence on the call of an I.O.C. member from China, Li Lingwei, offered a tantalizing clue. “The I.O.C. has vaulted itself from silence about Beijing’s abysmal human rights record to active collaboration with Chinese authorities in…

Your Friday Briefing

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Good morning. We’re covering booster shots in France, Peng Shuai’s piercing accusations in China and the Pakistani madrasa that has educated many Taliban leaders. A French rush for boosters Thousands rushed to book appointments for coronavirus booster shots on Thursday after the French government said that health passes would soon no longer be valid without them. Amid a surge in new cases and rising hospitalizations, the government made all adults eligible for booster shots starting this weekend. The health minister, Olivier Véran, said that over 400,000 vaccination appointments had been…

Solomon Islands: Why Are People Protesting?

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Protests rocked the capital of the Solomon Islands on Thursday for the second straight day as people clashed with the police and demanded that Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare resign. Some set buildings ablaze and looted stores. Protesters were met by police tear gas and rubber bullets on Wednesday after they stormed the national Parliament in the capital, Honiara, and set a police station and buildings in Chinatown on fire, the authorities said. On Thursday, more buildings went up in flames. Outnumbered, the police set up a heavily…

Peng Shuai’s Accusation Pierced the Privileged Citadel of Chinese Politics

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Before Zhang Gaoli was engulfed in accusations that he had sexually assaulted a tennis champion, he seemed to embody the qualities that the Chinese Communist Party prizes in officials: austere, disciplined, and impeccably loyal to the leader of the day. He had climbed steadily from running an oil refinery to a succession of leadership posts along China’s fast-growing coast, avoiding the scandals and controversy that felled other, flashily ambitious politicians. He became known, if for anything, for his monotone impersonality. On entering China’s top leadership, he invited people to search…

Do Sports Still Need China?

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Ultimately, the affair showed how even the most conscientious organizations could find their plans undermined by Chinese politics, how any business could unwillingly become a vessel for an international spat. “If you’re angering both sides, it means there is no middle ground, which I think was significant,” said Dreyer, the Beijing-based sports analyst. Like other observers, Dreyer suggested the WTA’s stance was potentially game-changing. But he noted, too, that it was possibly easier for the WTA to defy China than it had been for, say, the N.B.A., for two reasons.…

Jamie Dimon Says He Regrets His Remarks About China

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JPMorgan Chase’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, expressed remorse on Wednesday for saying the bank would outlast China’s Communist Party. “I regret and should not have made that comment,” Mr. Dimon said in a statement. “I was trying to emphasize the strength and longevity of our company.” At a Boston College event on Tuesday, Mr. Dimon relayed a recent joke he had made comparing the longevity of the multibillion-dollar bank and China’s ruling party. “I made a joke the other day that the Communist Party is celebrating its 100th year,” he…

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