(ChinaAid, Midland, TX—November 15, 2021) Professional Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai has not been seen since accusing former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault on social media.
On November 2, Peng Shuai took to Weibo, the Chinese equivalent to Twitter, and alleged Zhang Gaoli of coercive sexual acts. She also admitted to a 10-year affair with the married official, but could not offer any evidence of their relationship or assault. The Chinese government heavily censors Weibo, which led to them deleting the post almost immediately. Reports surfaced from multiple outlets that Peng has not been seen since sharing her experience.
The Women’s Tennis Association promised an investigation into Peng’s claims in a press release yesterday.
Zhang Gaoli served as the Vice Premier of China from 2013 to 2018 and acted as a member of the Politburo Standing Committee from 2012 to 2017. The committee typically acts as China’s decision-making body should the larger legislative body be out of session. Both of his positions lent him high status within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Peng Shuai ranked number one in Women’s doubles in 2014 when she won the French Open with Taiwanese partner Hsieh Su-wei. She instantly became a household name in her homeland.
Many sexual assault allegations have been leveled against Chinese officials over the years, namely that officials have sexually abused Uyghur and Kazakh women in ‘re-education’ camps. However, none of these accusations ever implicated such a high-ranking member within the CCP.
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