Earlier this week, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) demanded a thorough investigation into the allegations of sexual assault made by Chinese tennis superstar Peng Shuai against a top cadre of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). After she made her accusations public on Chinese social media, Peng, a sports celebrity and a globally top-ranked player at the pinnacle of her career, suddenly disappeared.
Peng posted her sensational claims on Weibo, alleging that she and Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, a much older, married official, had a sporadic sexual relationship through the years.
The paranoid Zhang, who accused Peng of recording their conversations, broke off the illicit affair. This incident makes Zhang the highest-ranking Chinese official to be accused of sexual assault in recent years.
Peng’s allegations against Zhang faced swift censorship, with the despotic CCP blocking available internet information and Weibo deleting the popular athlete’s official page.
Tennis legend Chris Evert expressed her supporting for Peng, using the #WhereIsPengShuai hashtag to shed more light on the missing assault victim.
Yes, these accusations are very disturbing. I’ve known Peng since she was 14; we should all be concerned; this is serious; where is she? Is she safe? Any information would be appreciated.🙏 https://t.co/RH0aYCDqQm— Chris Evert (@ChrissieEvert) November 14, 2021
Chinese women’s rights activists projected the trending hashtag on random buildings to raise public awareness.
Peng Shuai has vanished from the public eye ever since she came forward and made her claims. Chinese feminists and #Metoo activists are deeply concerned about her safety. #WhereIsPengShuai pic.twitter.com/Y1l7jA6Jbb— FreeChineseFeminists (@FeministChina) November 14, 2021
WTA chairman and CEO Steve Simon stated that the organization is deeply concerned by the troubling occurrence that has struck Peng Shuai.
“Peng Shuai, and all women, deserve to be heard, not censored. Her accusation about the conduct of a former Chinese leader involving a sexual assault must be treated with the utmost seriousness,” Simon said.
“We expect this issue to be handled properly, meaning the allegations must be investigated fully, fairly, transparently and without censorship,” he said.
Simon’s statement was immediately supported by iconic tennis greats such as Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and former Olympian Maryse Ewanje-Epee.
Sports Illustrated urged Simon to go ahead and pull the WTA out of China.
“This isn’t just sweeping human-rights abuses and something systemically untroubling. This is a player- a longstanding, top-flight, well-liked veteran – caught in the gears and reportedly “missing.” How, in any kind of conscience – much less, good conscience – can the WTA continue engaging here? How can players who have global brands and have, admirably, used their platform to speak credibly about other forms of social justice, abide by this?” wrote the Sports Illustrated.