Concerns about the safety and whereabouts of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai have been mounting after she made sexual assault allegations against a top government official in the country. Peng hasn't been seen since 2nd November.
The head of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) has since cast doubt over an email released by state media from Peng saying she's safe.
Who is Peng Shuai?
Born on 8th January 1986 in Xiangtan, Hunan province, Peng is 35-years-old in 2021.
What is Peng Shuai's net worth?
Peng Shuai's net worth is not confirmed, but it's been estimated that she's worth $1.5 million (£1.1 million) in 2021.
Is Peng Shuai married?
As far as we know, Peng isn't married and we're not sure of her relationship status as there isn't a lot of information about her personal life.
Peng Shuai email: Is Peng Shuai missing?
In November 2021, Peng accused former senior Chinese vice premier Zhang Gaoli of sexually assaulting her and Shaui abruptly disappeared following these allegations. She hasn't been seen since 2nd November.
On 17th November, state media released an email supposedly from the tennis star, but the WTA has cast doubt over it. The email, released by state media organisation CGTN. said:
"Hello everyone this is Peng Shuai,
"Regarding the recent news released on the official website of the WTA, the content has not been confirmed or verified by myself and it was released without my consent.
"The news in that release, including the allegation of sexual assault, is not true. I'm not missing, nor am I unsafe. I've just been resting at home and everything is fine.
"Thank you again for caring about me.
"If the WTA publishes any more news about me, please verify it with me, and release it with my consent. As a professional tennis player, I think you all for your companionship and consideration.
"I hope to promote Chinese tennis with you all if I have the chance in the future. I hope Chinese tennis will become better and better.
"Once again, thank you for your consideration."
The chairman of the WTA, Steve Simon, said the letter only made him more worried about Peng's safety:
"The statement released today by Chinese state media concerning Peng Shuai only raises my concerns as to her safety and whereabouts.
"I have a hard time believing that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email we received or believes what is being attributed to her.'
Simon said on Thursday (18th November) that he's willing to pull out of China and lose billions of dollars if Peng's whereabouts can't be accounted for and her allegations not properly investigated.
Serena Williams, among other celebrities, have spoken out on social media about Peng and #WhereIsPengShuai has been trending on Twitter. On 18th November, Williams tweeted:
"I am devastated and shocked to hear about the news of my peer, Peng Shuai. I hope she is safe and found as soon as possible. This must be investigated and we must not stay silent. Sending love to her and her family during this incredibly difficult time. #WhereIsPengShuai."Featured Image Credit: PA