At present, the tennis field has been in an uproar, and the only topic trending right now is “Where is Peng Shuai?”
Earlier this November, the tennis superstar and the Chinese household name Peng Shuai accused a former high-ranking Chinese government official, Zhang Gaoli, of sexual assault.
She made this news viral through her verified account on Weibo (a leading Chinese social media platform). Not long after it, they censored the news.
Following it, she hasn’t been active on social media since then. Later, Steve Simon (WTA chairman) received Peng Shuai’s mail stating that her statements were false.
Altogether, her safety has been a growing concern now, as every top-notched tennis player has voiced for her.
When, How, and What Caused the Stir?
On November 2, 2021, Peng Shuai took her Weibo account to release a detailed account of her encounters with Zhang Gaoli.
As a matter of fact, this particular social post stated that her on and off affair with Zhang, who was married, commenced a decade ago.
Well, she first got with Zhang in 2011 before he rose up the party ranks and became vice-premier. Following it, she met him again three years ago as Zhang invited her over to his house to play tennis with him and his wife.
However, Zhang had forced Peng to have intercourse with her while his wife stood outside guarding the door.
As per the New York Times, Peng Shuai stated:
“I know that for someone of your eminence, Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, you’ve said that you’re not afraid. But even if it’s just me, like an egg hitting a rock, or a moth to the flame, courting self-destruction, I’ll tell the truth about you.”
All in all, just after 30 minutes of her post being censored, and any searches or posts about the topic were blocked or removed. Yet still, it caught an uproar among fans and got trending globally.
(Note: Weibo (also known as Weixin) is a similar social media platform as Twitter in China.)
WTA Response and the Following Mail
As soon as the news hit the internet surface, it raised concern for people worldwide.
Regarding the issue, the Chairman and CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), Steve Simon, has a “full, fair and transparent investigation” into Peng’s allegations.
As a matter of fact, Simon also stated that Steve is willing to lose hundreds of millions of dollars worth of business in China if Shuai’s case is not adequately investigated.
Not long after the issue, the Chinese state media has released a mail that is supposedly the voice of Peng Shuai.
Well, in the mail, Peng Shuai states her allegations are “not true.” Furthermore, it adds that she is resting in her house in Beijing, within a safe territory. The broadcaster CGTN published this particular mail.
However, instead of assurance, this mail has only raised suspicions and doubt among all.
Additionally, Steve Simon stated that he had tried every means of communication to reach her, but all in vain as he never got a single response from any.
“Whether she was coerced into writing it, someone wrote it for her; we don’t know. But at this point, I don’t think there’s any validity in it, and we won’t be comfortable until we have a chance to speak with her.”
Response From the Tennis Community
Besides her fans and peers, several players have voiced up for her. Serena Williams took her Twitter account to justify her and demanded a full-fledged investigation for the truth.
Likewise, Naomi Osaka used the hashtag (#WhereisPengShuai) to talk about censorship.
Altogether, this topic risks impacting the forthcoming 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Brief Glance on Peng Shuai
Peng Shuai is a Chinese professional tennis player who currently ranks No. 127 (highest ranking No. 14) in singles and No. 71 (highest ranking No. 1) in the doubles.
To date, she has garnered two singles and 22 doubles titles.
Furthermore, she is best known for her double-handed play style and net skills.