Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai has not been seen in public since posting an allegation about former Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli on Chinese social media site Weibo on November 2.
The former number one-ranked doubles player alleged she was “forced” into sexual relations with Zhang Gaoli – who served as China’s vice-premier between 2013 and 2018.
The post was taken down minutes later, along with other recent posts from the account, which has more than 500,000 followers.
More and more leading voices from the world of tennis have spoken out about Peng Shuai since.
The US says it is “deeply concerned” about Peng Shuai with the White House urging China to “provide independent, verifiable proof” of the tennis player’s whereabouts and safety.
The 35-year-old doubles Grand Slam winner accused China’s ex-vice-premier of sexual assault two weeks ago.
The Women’s Tennis Association has threatened to pull events out of China.
The WTA has been told Peng Shuai is safe, and in Beijing, by the Chinese Tennis Association.
In a separate development on November 19, three photos of Peng Shuai were posted on a WeChat account under her name with the caption “Happy Weekend”.
Earlier this week, Chinese state media released an email attributed to Peng Shuai.
More and more leading voices from the world of tennis have spoken out about the Chinese player since.
Peng Shuai is a prominent figure in Chinese tennis. She has won two women’s doubles Grand Slams at Wimbledon in 2013 and the 2014 French Open, both alongside Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei.