Tennis Star Vanishes After Accusing Chinese Official Of Assaulting Her

( Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai has not been seen or heard from in over two weeks. She disappeared just a few days after she wrote a lengthy social media post alleging that she was sexually assaulted by the former vice-premier of China.

In a November 2 post to her Weibo account, Peng claimed that three years ago, Zhang Gaoli, a retired member of China’s Politburo Standing Committee, and his wife arranged to play tennis with her in Beijing. Afterward, Peng alleged, Zhang took her into a room in the couple’s home and assaulted her.

Peng addressed Zhang directly, demanding to know why he took her back to his home and forcibly raped her. She asserts that she never gave consent and was crying “the entire time.”

Her post was deleted from Weibo just 30 minutes later, and state censors began scrubbing any mention of the accusation from the platform. Peng has not been seen or heard from since.

World Tennis Association Chairman and CEO Steve Simon released a statement on Sunday commending Peng for her “courage and strength in coming forward” and condemning the censorship of her allegations. Simon demanded that her allegations against Zhang be investigated “with the utmost seriousness.”

On Wednesday, Chinese state-controlled media released an email purportedly sent from Peng to the World Tennis Association in which she walked back her accusations and claimed she was “resting at home and everything is fine.”

The WTA, however, doubts that the email was actually from Peng Shuai. In a statement on Wednesday, Steve Simon said the email “only raises my concerns as to her safety and whereabouts.”

Simon is demanding “independent and verifiable proof” that Peng Shuai is safe and unharmed. His repeated attempts to contact her via “numerous forms of communication” have all failed.

On Friday, the United Nations called for an investigation into Peng’s allegations and demanded answers into where she is and in what state she is in.

Also on Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that President Biden wants “verifiable” proof of Peng’s whereabouts and that she is safe.