Recently, the well-being and freedom of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai have been in a lot of uncertainty since the start of November.
No idea what has happened?
On 2 Nov, Peng Shuai accused a powerful former Chinese Communist Party official, Zhang Gaoli, of sexual assault on social media. The post was posted on her verified Weibo account.
However, shortly after, the post was taken down. All mentions of Peng on social media were also gone.
Fast and furious.
Even though she has since reappeared in videos shown by Chinese state media, people have speculated if she was indeed safe.
China has also responded after Peng’s initial disappearance. This comes after a global concern over Peng’s whereabouts.
In a statement, Chinese state media has released a screenshot of an email.
It was allegedly written by Peng to Women’s Tennis Association President Steve Simon.
The email was meant to assure people that she was fine and “resting at home”. However, some are still left in doubt as to whether she is indeed in safe hands.
Peng Shuai Finally Broke Silence on the matter
On Sunday (19 Dec), Peng finally addressed the matter directly in person. She rejected that she has ever accused anyone of sexually assaulting her.
She also had a short interview with Lianhe Zaobao after the International Ski Federation’s cross-country skiing competition.
Yes, a Singapore media.
Peng said that she is safely living in her home in Beijing all these while, and that her freedom of speech and movements had not been restricted.
And of course, when faced by the media, she was asked about the allegations made on Weibo.
Peng mentioned that “First, I would like to stress a very important point: I have never said nor written anything accusing anyone of sexually assaulting me. I would like to emphasise this point very clearly.”
Not the first time high-profile figures disappeared in China before
This isn’t a one-off occasion where public figures disappear in China. In fact, there have been multiple similar instances that have happened in the past.
In 2018, internationally-renowned Chinese actress Fan Bingbing went away from the public eye for four months last year. She was being investigated by the Chinese government for tax evasion.
Most recently, Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba and one of China’s richest man, also disappeared for three months. He then reappeared with little to no explanation regarding his sudden vanishment.
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