Naomi Osaka Expresses “Shock” at the Disappearance of Chinese Tennis Star Peng Shuai | Naomi Osaka
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World tennis star Naomi Osaka has joined growing calls for answers over the plight of Chinese player Peng Shuai, who has not been heard publicly since she accused the country’s former deputy prime minister. ‘having sexually assaulted.
Peng, one of the biggest sports stars in China, made the statements in a Weibo article on November 2, in which she claimed that Zhang Gaoli had forced her to have sex and that they had had sex. intermittent bond.
The Women’s Tennis Association called for an investigation and its chief executive, Steve Simon, said that although they had received “assurances” that Peng was safe, they had not been able to reach her.
Osaka, who is ranked the best player in women’s football, released a statement Wednesday expressing shock at how Peng had “disappeared shortly after revealing that she had been sexually assaulted.”
“Censorship is never acceptable at any cost, I hope Peng Shuai and his family are safe and healthy. I am in shock at the current situation and send her love and light. #whereispengshuai, ”said the Japanese player.
Osaka’s statement follows a wave of calls from tennis stars earlier this week expressing concern over Peng’s silence.
The Chinese government has not responded to the allegations. A spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, which deals with international media, told reporters he was not aware of the situation.
“I haven’t heard of the issue you raised,” spokesman Zhao Lijian said. “It’s not a diplomatic question.”
Peng’s post went viral on Chinese social media, though it was deleted by censors within minutes. Subsequent posts and reactions, even keywords like “tennis” also appeared to be blocked, and many references to Peng were removed from the internet in China.
Peng’s Weibo account is active, but does not mention Zhang, and comments appear to have been disabled.
In her post, the 35-year-old alleged that she and Zhang, 75, had a multi-year extramarital “relationship”, which she said she tried to keep a secret. Peng said Zhang stopped contacting her after climbing the Communist Party ranks.
About three years ago, she claimed, Zhang invited her to play tennis with him and his wife, then sexually assaulted her in his home. “I never consented that afternoon, crying all the time,” she wrote.
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