Thursday, December 2, 2021

Missing tennis professional Peng Shuai’s email, shared by Chinese state media, is raising red flags

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Peng Shuai disappeared after accusing former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault in a November 2 Weibo post that was removed 30 minutes later

An email reportedly written by missing tennis star Peng Shuai and published by China’s state-controlled media outlets raised more questions about their safety rather than providing assistance. Shuai was not seen after accusing former Chinese Vice Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault in a Nov. 2 post on Weibo, which was removed 30 minutes later.

However, on Wednesday, November 17, the Chinese state-owned media – CGTN – shared an alleged email from Shuai on Twitter. The email was supposedly addressed to Steve Simon, Chairman and CEO of the WTA, and read, “Hello everyone, this is Peng Shuai. Regarding the recent news posted on the WTA official website, the consent has not been confirmed or verified by me and it has been released without my consent. The news in this press release, including allegations of sexual assault, is not true. “

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It added, “I am not missing, nor am I unsure. I just got a rest at home and everything is fine. Thank you again for looking after me. If the WTA publishes further news about me, please verify it with me and release it with my consent. As a professional tennis player, thank you all for your camaraderie and consideration. I hope to promote Chinese tennis with all of you when I have the chance in the future. I hope Chinese tennis just keeps getting better. Thank you again for your consideration. “

But Simon doubted the mail, saying, “The statement on Peng Shuai released by Chinese state media today only raises my concerns about her safety and whereabouts. I find it hard to believe that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email we received, or believes what is being attributed to it. Peng Shuai showed incredible courage when describing a sexual assault allegation against a former top Chinese government official. The WTA and the rest of the world need independent and verifiable evidence of their safety. I have tried again and again in vain to reach them via numerous communication channels. “

He added, “Peng Shuai must be allowed to speak freely, without coercion or intimidation from any side. Your allegation of sexual assault must be respected, investigated with full transparency and without censorship. Women’s voices need to be heard and respected, not censored or dictated. “

Along with Simon, several others have expressed their shock and concern for Shuai. People couldn’t swallow either that the 35-year-old actually wrote the email. The Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka tweeted together with the hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai: “Censorship is never okay at any price, I hope Peng Shuai and her family are safe and in order.”

Chris Evert wrote: “Yes, these allegations are very disturbing. I’ve known Peng since she was 14; we should all be concerned; this is serious; where is she? Is it safe? Any information would be appreciated. ”And Billie Jean King added,“ In the hope that Peng Shuai is safe and that her allegations are fully investigated. ”

A Twitter user claimed, “This is a fake email, and there was no way it was written by Peng Shuai. this is communist china for propaganda. it’s very scary. Peng’s life is in grave danger after receiving this fake email. We call on the international community and the international tennis community to intervene on this matter until Peng is safe. ”Another said,“ Bullshit of the day! CGTN, China’s state broadcaster, published an email from Peng Shuai: “I am neither missing nor in danger. I rested at home, everything is fine. The information about the sexual assault is wrong. ‘ What a joke is that! Stand up! NOW #WhereIsPengShuai. “

“If it wasn’t already clear that Peng Shuai was in great danger, it is now. If it wasn’t already clear that the WTA could not continue its relations with China, then this is it now. Very disturbing turn of events. #WhereIsPengShuai, “added a concerned tweet.

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