The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) is demanding China to investigate the case of sports star Peng Shuai who alleged she was sexually assaulted by a Chinese politician.
They also require a stop in censorship against Shuai, who came out to tell her story on Chinese social media, Weibo, on Nov. 2. Reuters reported her post disappeared just half an hour after being uploaded, and she has not been seen since.
“The recent events in China concerning a WTA player, Peng Shuai, are of deep concern,” said WTA Tour chairman and CEO Steve Simon in a statement, according to the outlet. “Peng Shuai, and all women, deserve to be heard, not censored.”
The former top-ranked doubles player named Zhang Gaoli, a member of China’s top decision-making body, the Politburo Standing Committee was the person who forced her into having intercourse with him. She said they afterward remained an on-off noncoercive relationship.
The WTA said it wants the Chinese government to pursue the case with full transparency.
“Her accusation about the conduct of a former Chinese leader involving a sexual assault must be treated with the utmost seriousness,” said Simon.
The paper said Zhang has been a vice premier from 2013 to 2018 and on the Politburo Standing Committee from 2012 to 2017.
China is notorious for controlling what its people are able to access online, sensitive subjects around its top leaders are among the topics strictly monitored.
Although Peng has disappeared, Simon told The New York Times that the Chinese Tennis Association, in addition to other sources, has confirmed the sports star is currently “safe and not under any physical threat.”
Peng championed the doubles titles at Wimbledon in 2013 and the French Open in 2014, marking her the world number one doubles player in 2014 and the first Chinese player to accomplish such a feat.