Peng Shuai has not been seen in public since Nov. 2, when she publicly accused former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault. But things only get more puzzling from there.
Shuai, one of China’s most well-known tennis stars who won a title at Wimbledon in 2013 and the French Open in 2014, had her post removed from the Chinese social media platform Weibo within 30 minutes, according to CNN.
China has been quiet on the accusations made and just where the 35-year-old is, and things got a bit more bizarre Wednesday when an email supposedly from Shuai was sent to chairman and CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association Steve Simon.
The email claims she is “not missing” and her allegations against Gaoli are untrue. However, Simon has his doubts that it came from Shuai.
“The statement released today by Chinese state media concerning Peng Shuai only raises my concerns as to her safety and whereabouts,” Simon said in a statement, via CNN. “I have a hard time believing that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email we received or believes what is being attributed to her.”
It’s also worth noting that in the tweet CGTN sent out, you can see a cursor in the word “and” in the line that reads, “been confirmed or verified by myself and it was it was released without my consent,” indicating it may never have been sent by Shuai herself.
Tennis star Naomi Osaka also has brought attention to Shuai’s case, saying “censorship is never OK.”
Simon also said in his statement that he has reached out to Shuai numerous times and has been unable to reach her.