China missing tennis star | despite global pressure

TAIPEI - An email allegedly from a paid Chinese tennis player sent to the Chinese. China missing tennis star, despite global pressure
China missing tennis star

TAIPEI - An email allegedly from a paid Chinese tennis player sent to the Chinese regional media on Twitter has raised concerns about his safety as major sports stars and others abroad sought information about his well-being and whereabouts.

So far, those calls have been met with silence.

Chinese officials have not said anything in public since two weeks ago when he twice accused Grand Slam champion Peng Shuai of sexually abusing a former government official. The first #MeToo case that reached the political scene in China has not been reported by the local media and an online discussion about it has been extensively tested.

Steve Simon, chairman and CEO of the Women's Tennis Association, questioned the authenticity of the email aimed at him, in which Peng said he was safe and that allegations of assault were untrue. Posted on Thursday by CGTN, China's international broadcaster CCTV.

"I have a hard time believing that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email we received or that he believed what he was supposed to do," Simon wrote.

The statement, he added, "only raises my concerns about his safety and whereabouts."

Simon has called for a full investigation, and the WTA has said it is prepared to launch a tournament in South Africa if it does not receive a proper response. Leading actors including Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic have spoken out, and the hashtag online WhereisPengShuai is trending online.

China has put a lot of pressure on the #MeToo organization that flourished for a while in 2018 and is moving ahead with the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February despite calls to boycott activists and some foreign politicians over China's human rights record.

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Asked several times about the case, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian also said on Thursday he did not know about it. China missing tennis star The 35-year-old Peng is a former 1st place duo who won titles at Wimbledon in 2013 and the French Open in 2014.

He wrote on a long social media post on November 2 that Zhang Gaoli, a former deputy prime minister and a member of the ruling Communist Party's top leadership committee, China missing tennis star had forced him to have sex despite repeated denials over the past three years.

The post was immediately removed from his verified account on Weibo, China's leading social media platform, but screenshots of this accusation spread quickly over the Chinese Internet. Since then he has never been seen in public, which raises questions about his whereabouts and whether he has been detained.

Zhang, 75, went down in public after retiring in 2018, as is the norm for former executives. It is not known if you have a close relationship with current leaders.

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Peng's allegations are the first high-profile case of sexual harassment of a powerful Chinese politician. Past allegations target prominent individuals in the nonprofit world, academics and the media, but they have never reached the top of Communist Party officials or state-owned enterprises.

CGTN posted this statement on Twitter, which is blocked in China and many other external forums like Google and Facebook. It did not post it on Chinese social media, nor did it mention the email behind the Great Firewall, which separates the Internet from China to the rest of the world.

Some Internet users have bypassed controls and posted messages on private social media groups., which records the tested posts from Weibo, said the search for "Peng Shuai" and "Zhang Gaoli" were both among the top 10 search articles on Thursday.

Searching for Peng Shuai's name in China's Sogou search engine only reveals articles about his tennis career. His Weibo account no longer allows comments, and no results appear when people search for our Weibo account.

Peng wrote that Zhang's wife guarded the door during the alleged attack, which followed a tennis round. Her article also said they had sex seven years ago and had feelings for her afterwards. He also said he knew it would be difficult to talk.

“Yes, without me, I did not keep the evidence, no recordings, no videos, only my real twisted experience. Even if I destroy myself, like throwing an egg on a rock, or a moth flying in flames, I will still tell the truth about ourselves, ”said the cleared space.

His allegations surfaced three months before Beijing hosted the Winter Olympics, which fell victim to a campaign to boycott several human rights organizations because of Chinese pressure on Uyghur Muslims. China missing tennis star The Games are facing a possible boycott of the United States and other countries. Rights groups have compared the 2022 Beijing Olympics to the 1936 Hitler Berlin Olympics. China has repeatedly denied human rights abuses and says its actions are part of anti-terrorism programs.

Peng has played in three Olympics. China missing tennis star The International Olympic Committee said in a statement Thursday, "We have seen the latest reports and are encouraged to confirm your safety."

The Swiss-based IOC, which receives 73% of revenue from broadcasting copyright and another 18% from sponsors, has not criticized China and has repeatedly said it is only a sports business and has no withdrawal of action on state policies. China missing tennis star situation.

Xu Guoqi, a historian at the University of Hong Kong, explained the difference between the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2022 Games.

"The big difference between the two Beijing games is that in 2008 Beijing tried to please the world," Xu told the Associated Press recently in an email. "In 2022, it doesn't matter what the rest of the world thinks about it."

China missing tennis star

The WTA can better bring pressure as it relies less on Chinese revenue than the IOC or NBA. The basketball league lost an estimated $ 400 million in broadcasting rights when China closed its games for the 2019-2020 season after then Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted in support of the Hong Kong protesters.

Simon's statement said Peng had shown incredible courage but was still concerned about his safety.

"The WTA and the rest of the world need independent and convincing proof that it is safe," he wrote. "I have tried many times to find her through many means of communication, but to no avail."

Associated Press sports writer Stephen Wade in Tokyo contributed.

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