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'Missing' Tennis Player Sends Message Saying She's Safe But People Aren't Buying It

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'Missing' Tennis Player Sends Message Saying She's Safe But People Aren't Buying It

A former number one-ranked tennis doubles player has sent a message via email declaring 'she is safe' after not being heard from for over a week since posting allegations about former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli on Chinese social media site Weibo.

Peng Shuai alleged she was 'forced' into sexual relations with Mr Zhang - who served as the country's Vice Premier between 2013 and 2018 and was a close ally of China's leader Xi Jinping - in a post that was later taken down.

And now, after over a week of silence, an email has been released from China's state-owned television broadcaster CGTN claiming to be from Shuai, insisting she is safe and that the allegation against Mr Zhang is 'not true'.

But people aren't convinced of the email's authenticity.

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Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

"Hello everyone this is Peng Shuai," the email allegedly written by Shuai says.

"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.

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"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 thank 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."

However, there are loads of people on social media who aren't buying it.

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Many have suggested the overall tone and the content of the email seem to be a little off and have questioned whether Peng really wrote it.

The head of the WTA is even more worried about her welfare since the message was released by the Chinese Communist Party.

"I have a hard time believing that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email we received or believes what is being attributed to her," WTA chief Steve Simon said.

"Peng Shuai displayed incredible courage in describing an allegation of sexual assault against a former top official in the Chinese government.

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"The WTA and the rest of the world need independent and verifiable proof that she is safe. I have repeatedly tried to reach her via numerous forms of communication, to no avail.

"Peng Shuai must be allowed to speak freely, without coercion or intimidation from any source. 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."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: SPORT, News

Stewart Perrie
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