A Chinese tennis star's explosive #MeToo allegation against a former state leader has been muffled by blanket censorship, with authorities racing to wipe out any mention of a politically sensitive scandal that has reverberated across the Chinese internet.
Peng Shuai, 35, a former Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion, on Tuesday accused retired Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of pressuring her into having sex, according to screenshots of a since-deleted post from Peng's verified account on Weibo, China's Twitter-like social media platform.
CNN could not independently verify the authenticity of the more than 1,600-word post, and has reached out to Peng for comment, as well as China's State Council Information Office, which handles press inquires for the central government. In the post, which reads as an open letter to Zhang, she alleges a relationship over an intermittent period that spanned at least 10 years. Peng says she opened her heart to Zhang, who is now 75 years old.
"Why did you have to come back to me, took me to your home to force me to have sex with you? Yes, I did not have any evidence, and it was simply impossible to have evidence," she wrote. "I couldn't describe how disgusted I was, and how many times I asked myself am I still a human? I feel like a walking corpse. Every day I was acting, which person is the real me?"