The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) has called for a full investigation into sexual assault allegations made by Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai against a former Chinese vice-premier (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@MDNASPEARSS)
The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) has called for a full investigation into sexual assault allegations made by Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai against a former Chinese vice-premier.
Fellow tennis players are also supporting Peng on the issue through social media posts.
Former world No.1 tennis doubles player Peng Shuai, one of China's leading sports stars had earlier this month, in a social media post, publicly accused former Chinese vice premier Zhang Gaoli of forcing her to have sex with him.
In a statement, WTA chairman and chief executive Steve Simon called for a "full, fair and transparent investigation" into the allegations, while also demanding an end to the censorship of Ms Peng.
"The recent events in China concerning a WTA player, Peng Shuai, are of deep concern," Mr Simon said.
"Peng Shuai, and all women, deserve to be heard, not censored. Her accusation about the conduct of a former Chinese leader involving a sexual assault must be treated with the utmost seriousness."
The media post that sent shock waves through the Communist country was deleted half an hour after it was published as China's internet is under strict censorship and any mention of the private lives of top leaders is not allowed.
In the now-deleted post Peng, 35, wrote : About three years ago Zhang invited her to play tennis with him and his wife and then sexually assaulted her in his house. “I never consented that afternoon, crying all the time.”
Peng said then she and Zhang Gaoli, 75, had an on-off extramarital “relationship” over several years, which she said he tried to keep secret. Peng also aid Zhang had stopped contacting her after he rose in the ranks of the Communist party, and that at one point he expressed concern that she might tape their encounters, according to a report in The Guardian.