Two weeks ago, Chinese tennis pro and Grand Slam doubles champion Peng Shuai accused a former top government official in China of sexual assault. She hasn’t been seen in public since, and many people are worried about it.
An email, purportedly sent by Shuai saying that she was safe and the allegation she made was false isn’t making people concerned for her feel much better.
Steve Simon is the CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association, and he doesn’t believe the email that was posted Thursday by the International arm of Chinese state broadcaster CCTV was written by Shuai.
“I have a hard time believing that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email we received or believes what is being attributed to her. It only raises my concerns as to her safety and whereabouts.”
Simon wants a full investigation to be launched. He’s talked about pulling tournaments out of China if he doesn’t hear something that makes sense.
Even major tennis stars, like Serena Williams, are concerned and demanding a serious look into what happened. Here’s what she tweeted this week.
“I hope she is safe and found as soon as possible. This must be investigated, and we must not stay silent.”
The Beijing Winter games are coming up in February, and many activists and politicians outside the US are calling for a boycott because of China’s human rights record.
Peng has been ranked as high as No. 1 in the world in women’s doubles and won Grand Slam doubles titles at Wimbledon in 2013 and the French Open the following year.
She had posted on her Weibo account that Zhang Gaoli, a former vice premier and member of the Communist Party’s top leadership committee, forced her to have sex three years ago. The post was deleted, but screenshots were posted and spread through the internet in China.