"Missing" Chinese Tennis Star Emerges At Beijing Tournament After Sex Assault Allegations Against Top Communist Official

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Sunday, Nov 21, 2021 - 11:55 AM

This weekend the international Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) stepped up efforts to locate and contact the Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, who was widely reported in Western press as "missing" earlier this month, shortly after she made shocking allegations against top ranking Chinese government official, vice premier Zhang Gaoli, saying in a now-deleted social media post she was subject of sexual assault and abuse by the top Communist official.

Her allegations were posted on Nov.2, after which she wasn't seen or heard from in public since, raising the alarm for the WTA, which wasn't able to contact her. CNN reported the following as concerns over here whereabouts and safety spread: "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, via Time Magazine

"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," the report continued.

Any news or reports within China of Peng's allegations have reportedly been blocked by state censors, with any discussion on Chinese social media also appearing to be banned.

On Friday strange photos emerged via Chinese state media sources purporting to show her relaxing at her home. Western pundits claimed the images were staged, after Chinese state-affiliated pundits were eager to circulate them...

For example Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of Global Times, said he was able to confirm the authenticity of the photos, saying they are her "current state". He said she's freely resting at home and "didn't want to be disturbed," but would appear in public soon. 

Meanwhile, it wasn't enough for the WTA or anti-Beijing critics, with the global professional tennis organization warning that if it couldn't get confirmation soon as to the tennis star's fate, it would pull out of China altogether in protest.

However, on Sunday, she reportedly emerged in public for the first time in weeks, showing up at a tennis tournament hosted in Beijing, reports The Hill:

According to the photos posted on WeChat by China Open, Peng attended the Fila Kids Junior Tennis Challenger Finals on SundayReuters reported. She is reportedly seen next to a court wearing a dark blue jacket and white trousers while signing oversize tennis balls for children.

Her presence at the tournament has further been confirmed by Western journalists in China, and footage was featured in state media...

It's unclear if this will halt the rampant speculation as to whether Chinese authorities had possibly placed her under house arrest or confinement. 

There's also the simple likelihood that the massive political pressure, public fallout, and rumors sparked by her initial post detailing the allegations caused her to want to avoid the spotlight for the time being as she considered her next move, also given the reality that in China she's essentially alone in taking on a powerful Communist state official - and Beijing leaders are seeking to avoid embarrassment at all costs.