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Peng Shuai: WTA urges China to investigate sexual assault allegations against Zhang Gaoli


Peng, one of China’s most famous tennis stars, has accused former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of forcing her to have sex at his home three years ago, according to a screenshot of a post. on social networks was deleted on 11/2.

Peng’s post on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform, was deleted within 30 minutes of publication, with Chinese censors quickly working to remove any mention of the allegation online.

Peng has not been seen in public since being charged and her whereabouts are unknown. Her Weibo account, which has more than half a million followers, remains blocked from searchers on the platform.

In one declareWTA President and CEO Steve Simon said Peng’s allegations were of “deep concern” and that the allegations should be investigated “fully, fairly, transparently and without censorship.”

“Peng Shuai, and all women, deserve to be heard, uncensored,” Simon said. “Her accusations of a former Chinese leader’s conduct in relation to a sexual assault case must be taken very seriously.”

Zhang, 75, served on the seven-man Politiburo Standing Committee of the ruling Communist Party – the country’s supreme governing body – from 2012 to 2017 during the leader’s first term in power China Xi Jinping. He retired as deputy prime minister in 2018.

In the post as an open letter to Zhang, the 35-year-old tennis star alleges an intermittent relationship lasting at least 10 years.

“Why do you have to come back to me, take me to your house to force me to have sex with you?” she writes.

Peng said she had no evidence to substantiate her allegations, adding that Zhang was always worried that she would record everything.

Peng wrote: “I cannot express how disgusted I am, and how many times have I asked myself if I am still human? I feel like a walking corpse.” .

CNN was unable to independently verify Peng’s post, and has reached out to both her and China’s State Council, which handles press inquiries to the central government, for comment.

In the WTA statement, Simon praised Peng for her “remarkable courage and strength” moving forward.

“Women around the world are finding their voices so that injustices can be corrected,” he said.

Former Czech-American tennis player Martina Navratilova said she supports the WTA’s call for an investigation. “A very strong stance by the WTA – and one that’s right,” she Written on Twitter.
An intern took on the role of one of China's biggest TV stars in a landmark #MeToo case.  She lost, but vowed to continue fighting

Peng’s rapid censorship of posts in China stands in stark contrast to the reaction to other recent #MeToo cases, including rape allegations against Chinese-Canadian pop star Kris Wu.

That scandal has been allowed to gain traction on social media, dominating the most trending topics on Weibo for days, while state media amplified the allegations, criticizing Wu for his moral decadence. his.

One of China’s most famous #MeToo cases involved an intern who took a popular host of state broadcaster CCTV to court, accusing him of groping and forcibly kissing her. year 2014.

A court said in September that there was not enough evidence and ruled against the plaintiff.

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