Peng Shuai redacts sexual assault accusations


Wiki Commons: Claude_TRUONG-NGOC

Tennis star Peng Shuai has taken back allegations of sexual abuse after being off of social media for 18 days.

Peng Shuai, a 35-year-old recently-retired star Chinese tennis player, has redacted her accusations of sexual assault from Nov. 2 against former Chinese Communist party leader and member of the Politburo Standing Committee, Zhang Gaoli stating it was just an “enormous misunderstanding.”

Shuai had gone missing the 18 days following the sexual assault accusation against Gaoli, causing upset. Activists in support of her sudden disappearance were both wearing and handing out “Where is Peng Shuai?” T-shirts at the Australian Open from Jan. 17-30.  She has since been reported as safe in her home in Beijing, requesting privacy.

“I thought it [Shuai’s disappearance] was weird. I don’t know why we’re moving past it so easily either, where did she go,” said Sarah Walters, former tennis player.

Whether she was in her home in Beijing is still speculated, as Chinese social media platform Weibo is known for its strict and sometimes unreliable filters. 

“I just feel like there was not really a valid explanation for why she was gone but sometimes things like this take time, maybe we’ll know more soon,” Walters said.

Shuais’ 1,600-word sexual allegation post was quickly removed from Weibo.

“I didn’t see a thing about [Peng Shuai] on T.V., social media or anything which is kind of weird considering she was basically an Olympiad,” said Melissa Baker, tennis player. “With the Olympics happening right now I feel like there would be a lot of spotlight on talented people like her.” 

The U.S., U.K., Canada, India, Australia, Lithuania, Kosovo, Belgium, Denmark and Estonia declared a diplomatic boycott against the Olympics in Beijing because of human rights abuses.

Where Peng Shuai was while she was missing continues to be publicly debated as is the cause of her early and sudden retirement. She has redacted her sexual assault accusations to Zhang Gaoli and is now denying assault ever took place.