Hong Kong (tacoemojishirt.com)Before retiring together vice premier, Zhang Gaoli to be the face of China"s organizing initiatives ahead that the 2022 Winter Olympics.
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As the head the a government working group on the Beijing Games, Zhang inspected venue construction sites, visited athletes, unveiled main emblems, and held conference after conference to coordinate ready work.
He received worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC) President cutting board Bach in ~ the management compound in the Chinese capital in 2016, promise to do the games "fantastic, extraordinary and also excellent."
But now, 3 years right into his retirement and also less than three months prior to the Olympics, Zhang has discovered himself at the center of one explosive #MeToo scandal that has actually prompted an international uproar -- amplifying calls because that a boycott that the gamings that he assisted organize.
While in office, Zhang had reduced a dull, quite unremarkable figure -- also by the criter of the Communist Party, where senior officials frequently follow a tight script while on main business and stay out of the spotlight in private.
In photos and on state television, that was rarely seen wearing any type of expression, and always sported impeccable slicked-back, jet-black hair -- a hairstyle traditionally favored by an elderly Chinese officials.
According come a 2013 state media profile, Zhang delighted in tennis, reading and also playing Chinese chess in his spare time.
"There to be nothing outstanding around him. He"s a conventional technocrat trained and also cultivated by the Chinese Communist Party system," claimed Deng Yuwen, a previous editor of an official party newspaper who now lives in the united States.
"He had actually no significant achievements, nor to be he associated in specific scandals -- he had actually been a bland figure without any kind of controversy."
Even after he officially became one that China"s 7 most powerful men, Zhang rarely stood out amongst his colleagues on the judgment Communist Party"s Politburo was standing Committee, where he offered alongside chairman Xi Jinping native 2012 to 2017.
But his low-key personality belied a incredible power. As vice premier, he was in charge of elements of China"s economy, its energy sector and Xi"s signature Belt and Road plan -- as well as preparations because that the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Zhang Gaoli (L) stands through the various other six members the the Chinese Communist Party"s Politburo stand Committee within the an excellent Hall of the world in Beijing top top November 15, 2012.
Unlike Xi, who was born a "princeling" -- a boy of communist revolutionary heroes -- which offered him natural status and prestige in ~ the party, Zhang come from a modest background.
Born in 1946 into a farmer"s family members in a little seaside town in the southeastern district of Fujian, Zhang grew up impoverished. His dad died before he rotate 3 year old, and he aided his mommy with farm yard work and also fishing native a young age, follow to state media reports.
But Zhang learned hard and was admitted to the business economics department that Xiamen University, a prestigious institution in his residence province. When he graduated, China remained in the middle of the destruction wrought by the social Revolution, a te of political and social turmoil unleashed by late Chairman Mao Zedong in 1966.
Zhang was assigned a lowly project in a state-owned oil agency in the neighboring province of Guangdong, transporting bags the cement native the warehouse. According to Chinese state media, it was while functioning there that he met Kang Jie, a colleague who would become his wife, despite the report did not administer further details of their relationship. Zhang at some point rose with the ranking to become the party boss of the oil company, and also started his political career from there.
In the occurring three decades, Zhang continued his rise. In the 1990s, the was placed in fee of economic planning for Guangdong, a pioneer because that China"s economic reforms. In Guangdong, he also had a short stint as the party chef of Shenzhen, residence to a special financial zone collection up by so late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping and one the China"s fastest growing cities at the time.
After the revolve of the century, Zhang was moved to Shandong, the third largest provincial economic situation of China, before coming to be the party chief of Tianjin, vital port city close to Beijing, in 2007.
Zhang Gaoli, then-Communist Party Secretary that Tianjin, attends a panel conversation of the Tianjin delegation during the 18th Party congress at the great Hall the the people in Beijing ~ above November 9, 2012.
It remained in Tianjin the Zhang is alleged come have started a sexual connection with Peng, follow to the tennis star"s society media post. Peng asserted in the post that she an initial had sex with Zhang more than 10 years ago, though she go not describe the circumstances.
In 2012, once Xi take it the helm that the party, Zhang was advocated to the Politburo standing Committee in Beijing. Peng alleges he damaged off call with her soon after.
Then, the short article alleges, one morning around three years earlier after Zhang had retired, Peng was all of sudden invited through him to play tennis in Beijing. Afterward, she wrote, Zhang and also his wife lugged Peng earlier to their home, whereby Peng cases she to be pressured into having sex with Zhang.
"That afternoon ns did not agree at an initial and was crying the whole time," Peng wrote. Then, at dinner through Zhang and his wife, Zhang do the efforts to talk her right into it, according to the post.
"You stated that the universe was so huge that the planet was no more than a serial of sand in comparison, and that we humans were also less than that. You maintained talking, trying to sway me to let walk of my "mental baggage,"" Peng alleges in the post.
She alleges she ultimately relented, the end of panic and fear, and also with she "feelings" because that Zhang from their time in Tianjin, according to the post.
Chinese tennis star accuses former top Communist Party leader of sex-related assault, triggering blanket censorship
Peng said she then started an extramarital connection with Zhang, but she endured "too much injustice and insults." She declared they got into a arguement in late October, and also Zhang refused to satisfy her and disappeared.
"I couldn"t explain how disgusted i was, and how plenty of times i asked myself am i still a human? ns feel prefer a go corpse. Every day i was acting, which human is the real me?" wrote Peng. tacoemojishirt.com might not individually verify the authenticity of the much more than 1,600-word post.
At a news conference Tuesday, China"s to adjust of foreign Affairs spokesperson Zhao Lijian decreased to discuss whether the Chinese government will launch an investigation right into Peng"s sexual attack allegations against Zhang. He repeated previous comments made come reporters, speak Peng"s instance "was no a diplomatic issue."
He added that the federal government hoped "malicious speculation" around Peng"s well-being and also whereabouts would certainly stop, and also that her instance should not be politicized.
Peng"s original article sent shock waves with Chinese social media, and also was turned off within 30 minutes. Because then, Chinese censors have actually been diligently scrubbing she name and even the vaguest recommendations to her allegations from the internet.
And together individuals associated to Chinese state media push a narrative that Peng is well on international platforms that room blocked in China, mention of the tennis star stays entirely missing within the country"s own residential media and also online sphere.
Zhang, meanwhile, has actually remained silent. His last public appearance was on July 1, in ~ a cool ceremony celebrate the 100th establishing anniversary that the party in central Beijing. The septuagenarian was watched standing on optimal of the door of Heavenly Peace among a heat of retirement leaders.
Peng Shuai during her very first round singles match at the Australian open up tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia top top Jan. 21, 2020.
The Women"s Tennis Association, as well as some of the best names in tennis and also the United countries have dubbed for a full, fair and also transparent investigation into Peng"s allegations against Zhang.
Chinese authorities have actually not recognized Peng"s accusation, and also it remains unclear if Peng has reported she allegations to the police. Peng created in the article that she did not have any evidence, and "it was simply impossible to have evidence" since Zhang was constantly worried that she would record things.
Ling Li, an experienced on Chinese politics and law at the college of Vienna, stated if Peng"s allegations to be true, Zhang"s extramarital partnership would no doubt be pertained to as "improper" and a violation of the "lifestyle discipline" the the party.
According to the rules of the main Commission for self-control Inspection, the party"s much-feared disciplinary watchdog, the sanction for such an offense ranges from remonstration come expulsion from the party, depending just how much damages the party has actually suffered from the offense, Li said.
"Having said that, there has been no party official of (Zhang"s) rank who has actually been expelled from the party based upon a lifestyle offense alone. And also an allegation of sexual misconduct does no necessarily create an anti-corruption investigation," she added.
"If past practice is any type of guide, to launch an anti-corruption investigation against a member of the Politburo or above, the decision needs to be made through the Politburo was standing Committee collectively."
Xi"s sweeping anti-corruption campaign has formerly targeted senior officials -- consisting of a former Politburo standing Committee member, yet they were every initiated by the party itself. In China, party leaders of Zhang"s rank are beyond reproach indigenous members that the general public, and it would be virtually unthinkable the a sexual attack allegation could carry down a optimal leader.
Deng, the former party newspaper editor, claimed it is virtually difficult for the Communist Party to cave in to international pressure to command a transparent investigation into Zhang and release the outcomes to the world.
Even despite Zhang is not seen as an allied of Xi"s (instead, that is considered to be in the orbit of previous President Jiang Zemin and his so-called Shanghai faction), publicly punishing a previous elite main who operated so closely with Xi because that alleged sexual misconduct would most likely be taken into consideration a huge embarrassment not only for the party, but also to Xi self -- particularly given the Xi has actually doubled down hard on put on impose party discipline.
Under Xi, the party has made an instance of disgraced officials, including those who have abused their strength for sex. In recent years, that has end up being common because that salacious accounts of officials" tangled exclusive lives come be released in state media following their removal from office top top corruption charges.
"As quickly as he pertained to power, Xi underscored the officials should be honest and also upright, and act together moral function models because that society. He has actually demanded Communist Party members to keep their (ideological) purity," Deng said. "While indiscretion in private life is tho prevalent among officials, it is a different matter once it is thrust right into the windy view."
"This was originally a scandal versus Zhang, but the (party's) fetish because that power has actually blunted that response, turning a personal scandal into a national scandal."
Deng Yuwen, a political analyst
And because of that, Deng claims he trust the party has actually likely already quietly introduced an internal investigation into Peng"s allegations. But neither the procedure nor the an outcome of the probe is likely be announced externally, the said.
"The last point they want to perform is to give the international neighborhood an impression that they"ve to be pressured into doing it," Deng said.
Now, the round is in the court that the worldwide sports ar -- even if it is they"ll be satisfied by the "proof the life" videos that Peng, or if lock will continue to push for a complete investigation into her allegations.
As because that Zhang, it"s likely he would never have actually expected the after committing lot of the final years that his career to preparations because that the Winter Olympics, allegations versus him would at some point fuel farming calls because that a boycott the the Games.
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"But if an ext and more countries join the Olympic boycott and the press becomes as well acute, we can"t totally exclude the possibility -- however tiny -- the (the party) might throw Zhang under the bus," stated Deng.
"This was originally a scandal against Zhang, however the (party"s) fetish for power has blunted the response, turning a an individual scandal right into a national scandal."