The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) on Sunday called on the Chinese government to investigate allegations of sexual assault made by Peng Shuai against a former state leader, insisting the former top-ranked doubles player should be "heard, not censored."
Peng, one of China's most recognizable tennis stars, accused former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of coercing her into sex at his home three years ago, according to screenshots of a since-deleted social media post dated November 2. Peng's post on Weibo, China's Twitter-like platform, was deleted within 30 minutes of publication, with Chinese censors moving swiftly to wipe out any mention of the accusation online. Peng has not been seen in public since the accusation and her whereabouts are unknown. Her Weibo account, which has more than half a million followers, is still blocked from searchers on the platform.