Editor’s note: This story contains alleged accounts of sexual assault. If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual assault, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or in https://www.rainn.org
The President and CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), Steve Simon, called for a Investigation “complete, fair and transparent” by the Chinese government on Sunday after retired tennis star Peng Shuai accused a former high-ranking member of the Chinese Communist Party of sexual assault.
This is the first public accusation of its kind against a senior Communist Party official, and since Shuai’s Nov. 2 post on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform, the WTA veteran has apparently not been directly heard from.
Simon said The New York Times that the WTA received confirmation from the Chinese Tennis Association (CTA) and other sources that the tennis star is “safe and not under any physical threat.” But she added that no one on the WTA has been able to speak directly to Shuai yet.
“If at the end of the day, we don’t see the appropriate results from this, we would be prepared to take that step and not operate our business in China if that’s what happened,” Simon said. the Times.
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International tennis players have taken to Twitter to voice their concerns about Shuai’s safety. Former world No. 1 singles Chris Evert tweeted before this week that the allegations were “disturbing.”
“I have known Peng since I was 14 years old; we should all be concerned, ”Evert wrote. “This is serious; where is she? Is she safe? Any information would be appreciated.”
Billie jean king republished WTA statement, adding: “In the hope that Peng Shuai is safe and that his allegations will be fully investigated.” Nicolas Mahut tweeted in addition to the statement, “The fact that Peng Shuai is not here is just a WTA problem. We are all concerned.”
Naomi Osaka is the latest player to tweet the hashtag “# Where isPengShuai. The four-time Grand Slam singles champion wrote on Twitter: ‘Hi everyone, I’m not sure if you’ve been following the news, but I was recently informed of a tennis partner who disappeared shortly after revealing that she had been sexually abused. “.. Censorship is never okay at all costs, I hope Peng Shuai and her family are safe and well. I am in shock at the current situation and I am sending her love and lighting her way. #Whereispengshuai.”
From 2012 to 2017, Zhang Gaoli served on the Standing Committee of the party’s Politburo, the country’s “highest governing body,” according to The times. Shuai detailed in her post that Gaoli “forced” her to have sex with him.
“Why did you have to come back with me, take me to your house to force me to have sex with you?” she wrote, by CNN.
“That afternoon I did not give my consent and I could not stop crying,” Shuai wrote in his post. by BBC. “You brought me to your house and forced us to have relatives.”
The post, which also described an intermittent consensual relationship with Gaoli, was removed within minutes, according to The times, and searches for Shuai’s name and “tennis” allegedly “appeared to be blocked”.
“I can’t describe how upset I was, and how many times I wondered if I am still human. I feel like a walking corpse,” Shuai wrote.
A screenshot of the post has circulated; Nevertheless, Illustrated Sports has not confirmed its authenticity.
“I know that for someone of his eminence, Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, has said that he is not afraid,” Peng wrote in the deleted post, according to the Times. “But even if it’s just me, like an egg hitting a stone, or a moth against flame, courting self-destruction, I’ll tell the truth about you.”
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.