WTA questions e-mail allegedly from Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai

WTA chief says onerous to consider e-mail revealed by state media got here from Peng, who disappeared after she accused high official of sexual assault.

The head of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has questioned the authenticity of an e-mail revealed by China’s state media wherein tennis star Peng Shuai stated she was “resting at home” and that an allegation of sexual assault was “not true”.

Peng has not been seen since she accused a high official of sexual assault earlier this month.

WTA chief Steve Simon stated the e-mail, which was shared on state media on Wednesday and despatched to the WTA, has elevated his concern for the participant.

“I have a hard time believing that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email we received or believes what is attributed to her,” Simon stated in an announcement.

The e-mail, shared by state broadcaster CGTN with out a date, header or signature, began: “Hello everyone this is Peng Shuai” and stated she had not confirmed or verified “recent news” about her on the WTA web site.

“The news in that release, including the allegation of sexual assault, is not true,” it stated. “I’ve just been resting at home and everything is fine.”

Peng revealed in a prolonged social media put up earlier this month {that a} former vice-premier had pressured her to have intercourse with him regardless of repeated refusals. The put up was faraway from her verified account on Weibo, a number one Chinese social media platform, and China’s state-controlled media have suppressed all reporting on the case.

The WTA picked up on the allegation the next week, urging the authorities to deal with the allegation with the “utmost seriousness”.

The e-mail shared by CGTN, which was allegedly despatched by Peng Shuai to Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Chairman and CEO Steve Simon [CGTN/Twitter via Reuters]

Other gamers have additionally spoken out together with Japanese tennis participant Naomi Osaka.

In a Twitter put up – below the hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai – Osaka wrote: “Not sure if you’ve been following the news but I was recently informed of a fellow tennis player that has gone missing shortly after revealing that she has been sexually abused. Censorship is never ok at any cost.”

Peng, 35, alleged in her now-deleted put up that Zhang Gaoli had pressured her to have intercourse regardless of her repeated refusals following a spherical of tennis three years in the past. Zhang, now 75, was a vice-premier from 2013 till his retirement 5 years later, and a member of the ruling Communist Party’s highly effective Politburo Standing Committee.

Simon stated he had repeatedly tried to reach Peng, a former top-ranked doubles participant who received titles at Wimbledon and the French Open, by means of “numerous forms of communication” however had not been profitable.

“Peng Shuai must be allowed to speak freely without coercion or intimidation from any source,” he stated within the assertion. “Her allegation of sexual assault must be respected, investigated with full transparency and without censorship. The voices of women need to be heard and respected, not censored nor dictated to.”

Peng’s accusation is the primary in opposition to a outstanding authorities official for the reason that #MeToo motion briefly emerged in China in 2018.

In response to a query at Wednesday’s day by day briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian stated he had no information of Peng’s scenario.

“Do you think the spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry is omnipotent?” Zhao stated to a reporter. “I suggest you ask the relevant authorities about the relevant question.”