A Chinese tennis player who made sexual assault allegations against a government official has reportedly not been seen or heard from in days, People reported.
Former doubles champion Peng Shuai’s whereabouts are unknown days after she accused former vice premier Zhang Gaoli of coercing her into sex several years ago in a Nov. 2 post on Weibo, People reported.
“Why did you have to come back to me, took me to your home to force me to have sex with you? Yes, I did not have any evidence, and it was simply impossible to have evidence,” Peng wrote in her post, which is an open letter to Zhang, CNN reported.
“I couldn’t describe how disgusted I was, and how many times I asked myself am I still a human? I feel like a walking corpse. Every day I was acting, which person is the real me?” she added.
The post was deleted about 30 minutes after it went online, and Peng’s accusations were met with blanket censorship by the Chinese government, which attempted to wipe the internet of the scandal, CNN reported. Fellow tennis stars, such as Naomi Osaka and Billie Jean King, raised concerns for Peng’s safety in the aftermath of the post.
“Hey everyone, not sure if you’ve been following the news but I was recently informed of a fellow tennis player that has gone missing shortly after revealing that she has been sexually abused,” Osaka wrote in a statement posted to Twitter on Tuesday. “Censorship is never ok at any cost, I hope Peng Shuai and her family are safe and ok. I’m in shock of the current situation and I’m sending love and light her way.”
King took to Twitter on Tuesday, posting that she was “hoping that Peng Shuai is found safe and that her accusations are fully investigated.” Chris Evert, an 18-time Grand Slam champion who said she has known Peng since she was 14, questioned her whereabouts as well and said “we should all be concerned.”
“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,” Women’s Tennis Association chairman Steve Simon said in a statement on Sunday.
“We commend Peng Shuai for her remarkable courage and strength in coming forward. Women around the world are finding their voices so injustices can be corrected,” Simon added.
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