China saved silent Monday over rising concern for tennis star Peng Shuai, who has not been heard from since accusing a robust politician of sexual assault — the primary time the #MeToo motion has struck on the high echelons of the ruling Communist Party.
The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) referred to as Sunday for Peng’s claims to be “investigated fully, fairly, transparently and without censorship”, and present and former gamers have taken to social media to precise worry for the security of the previous Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion.
Asked to reply to the mounting questions, overseas ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian stated: “I have not heard of the issue you raised.”
He added that “this is not a diplomatic question” and made no additional touch upon the destiny of the previous world primary doubles participant.
Details of Peng’s reported accusations, made earlier this month that former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli had sexually assaulted her, stay scrubbed from China’s Internet. Searches for his or her names on key portals come again empty.
Searches for her account on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform additionally returned no outcomes, though the account was nonetheless accessible through a direct net hyperlink.
China’s nationwide tennis affiliation didn’t reply to AFP requests for remark.
In its assertion, the WTA’s chairman Steve Simon stated the occasions regarding Peng had been “of deep concern” and referred to as for her claims to be “treated with the utmost seriousness”.
“Our absolute and unwavering priority is the health and safety of our players. We are speaking out so justice can be done,” the assertion stated.
Chris Evert, the 18-time Grand Slam winner, turned the best profile present or former participant in tennis to hitch social media expressions of concern which have given rise to the Twitter hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai.
Evert referred to as the scenario “very disturbing”.
“I’ve known Peng since she was 14; we should all be concerned; this is serious; where is she? Is she safe? Any information would be appreciated,” Evert tweeted.
Earlier this month, Peng, 35, reportedly wrote on social media that Zhang — who’s in his seventies — “forced” her into intercourse and stated that they had an on-off relationship lasting a number of years.
The Weibo submit appeared to have been deleted shortly and AFP was unable to confirm the authenticity of screenshots containing the allegation or substantiate the claims made in them.
China’s on-line censors moved quickly to erase proof of the reported allegations and Peng has not been heard from since.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is printed from a syndicated feed.)