'The voices of women need to be heard and respected.'
Updated: Aug 22, 2022
If you have never heard of her before, Peng Shaui was the first professional Chinese tennis player to be ranked No.1 by the Women’s Tennis Association.
The star posted onto Weibo, which is a very popular Chinese social media platform, on November 2nd, alleging she had been brutally forced into sexual relations against Zhang Gaoli, an incredibly powerful politician.
Within the same hour, the post was deleted.
It’s speculated that Chinese authorities went on to censor all of the athlete’s posts, as no trace was left on her social media accounts. Peng Shaui’s digital existence has disappeared resulting in many people having concerns about her safety and well-being.
Superstar athletes, including Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokavic have all voiced their concerns, generating lots of awareness to the case. The Women’s Tennis Association has decided to suspend all tournaments in China and Hong Kong amid serious concerns that the tennis star is unable to ‘communicate freely’ and has been unfairly ‘pressured to contradict her allegation of sexual assault’. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has opposed the WTA’s stance and has not suspended matches in China because the organization does not want to ‘punish a billion people.’
Additionally,China has yet to speak out about this case. Although, foreign ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin, has spoken out, he emphasizes the country’s reluctance regarding the ‘politicization of sports’. Even the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is hesitant to publish information on the case and would rather employ ‘quiet diplomacy’.
As a result of the uproar, the IOC announced that a video call was held on December 2nd with the star to confirm her safety, although no footage of the call was released.
Voice your concern.
Written by Aniqa Akhter