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Opinion | Where Is Peng Shuai?

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China’s playbook when confronted with criticism is neither crafty nor subtle: Deny, lie, play dumb, hope it goes away and, when all else fails, strike back ferociously. It’s all happening again in the case of Peng Shuai, the Chinese tennis star who crossed swords with the state by publicly accusing a former senior Politburo member of sexual assault.

After making the allegations in a Nov. 2 post on China’s popular Weibo social media platform, Ms. Peng vanished. Beijing’s disinformation machinery went into overdrive: Her charges disappeared from her social media account, and her name appeared to be blocked in searches. Foreign Ministry spokesmen insisted they were unaware of any sexual assault allegations, and questions and answers about Ms. Peng were omitted from official transcripts.

On Wednesday, Chinese state media published what it claimed was a screenshot of an email sent by Ms. Peng to the Women’s Tennis Association, saying that the…

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