The Times podcast:  A Chinese tennis star disappears

Peng Shuai of China at the U.S. Open tennis championships in New York in 2019.
Peng Shuai of China at the U.S. Open tennis championships in New York in 2019.
(Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / Associated Press)

On Nov. 2, Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai published a letter on her verified social media account that accused a former top Chinese government official of sexual assault. Then suddenly, she disappeared. But it’s not just people with name recognition who are disappearing in the country. Human rights group Safeguard Defenders estimates that more than 45,000 people were subjected to a form of secret detention since President Xi Jinping assumed power in 2013.


Today, we speak with L.A. Times Beijing Bureau Chief Alice Su, who has been investigating this phenomenon. And we’ll also hear from a writer who studies feminism in China.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times Beijing bureau chief Alice Su, and author Leta Hong Fincher

More reading:

They helped Chinese women, workers, the forgotten and dying. Then they disappeared

Women’s tennis tour suspends events in China over Peng Shuai concerns

EU wants ‘verifiable proof’ that Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai is safe

About The Times

“The Times” is made by columnist Gustavo Arellano, senior producers Denise Guerra, Shannon Lin, Kasia Broussalian and producer Melissa Kaplan. Our executive producer is Jazmín Aguilera and Shani O. Hilton. Our engineer is Mario Diaz. Our editor is Lauren Raab. Our theme song was composed by Andrew Eapen.