Peng Shuai Indian Wells 2017

China attacks countries for “maliciously hyping up” Peng Shuai censorship

In their most direct response to the situation yet, China have accused the West of “maliciously hyping up” the disappearance and censorship of Peng Shuai.

These accusations come amidst the growing concerns regarding Peng Shuai’s well-being and full autonomy after she alleged former Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli of coercing her into a sexual relationship.

The former French Open and Wimbledon doubles champion has only just returned to the public eye this week after having disappeared since November 2nd, when she first made the accusations.

Following the WTA’s statement demanding a “full, fair and transparent investigation” into Peng Shuai’s sexual assault allegations, last week Chinese state media outlet CGTN released an email purportedly from Peng herself. Then state-affiliated journalists distributed images and videos of Peng participating in a variety of social activities through Twitter.

However, none of the subsequent reassurance efforts satisfied WTA CEO and chairman Steve Simon’s requests and China still faces the possibility of having all WTA tournaments being withdrawn from them.

China had claimed that they were “not aware” of the controversy surrounding Peng and denied all knowledge of the situation just days prior to the photos and videos being posted and the video call being arranged.

However, China have now responded through Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, who told reporters that “this is not a diplomatic matter.

“I believe everyone will have seen she (Peng Shuai) has recently attended some public activities and also held a video call with the IOC (International Olympic Committee) president, [Thomas] Bach.

“I think some people should stop deliberately and maliciously hyping [the issue] up, let alone politicise this issue.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.