Four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka© AFP
Four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka said she was “shocked” by her fellow tennis star, Peng Shuai, who has not heard from a powerful Chinese politician since she was alleged to have sexually abused her. Osaka added her voice to growing concerns in tennis about Peng’s fate, with men’s number one Novak Djokovic and numerous other players saying in the past few days they were deeply concerned for her. Osaka, 24, posted a brief statement on Twitter, where she has 1.1 million followers, accompanied by #WhereIsPengShuai – a hashtag that is widely used on social media.
“Censorship is never okay at any price, I hope Peng Shuai and her family are safe and sound,” wrote the Japanese former world number one.
“I am shocked by the current situation and I send her love and light.”
– NaomiOsaka (@naomiosaka) November 16, 2021
There is growing pressure on the Chinese authorities to clarify the status of 35-year-old Peng, a former Wimbledon and French Open double winner.
Peng claimed on Twitter-esque Weibo earlier this month that former Vice Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli “forced” her to have sex during a long-term on-off relationship.
It was the first time the #MeToo movement reached the top echelons of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, but the post was quickly deleted and has not been heard from Peng since then.
The women’s tennis association demanded on Sunday that Peng’s claims be “investigated completely, fairly, transparently and without censorship”.
WTA chairman Steve Simon told the New York Times they had information that she was “safe and not exposed to physical threats.”
China has remained silent on Peng and its national tennis association has not responded to AFP requests for comment.
Details of Peng’s allegations have been removed from China’s heavily censored Internet.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)
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