/ 19 November 2021

Concerns grow for missing Chinese tennis star

Image source: Getty
Image source: Getty

Chinese tennis champ Peng Shuai hasn’t been seen or heard from since she accused former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault earlier this month. The 35yo’s claims were the first of their kind levelled at an official as senior as Zhang, and stars including Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic say they’re concerned for her wellbeing. Looking to reassure worried outsiders, an email supposedly written by Peng was circulated by Chinese state media saying the allegations she raised were “not true”, and she is “not missing, nor… unsafe”. That set off a few alarm bells… Among them is the Women’s Tennis Association’s Steve Simon, who said he “had a hard time believing” the email was written by Peng. His attempts to contact her have been unsuccessful, and he’s called for “independent and verifiable proof that she is safe”. He says top-level tournaments could be pulled from China as early as next year if that doesn’t happen.

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