Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai has "disappeared" after accusing China's former vice premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault. On Sunday, the WTA released a statement, calling for afull, fair and transparent investigation into sexual assault allegations against Gaoli.
"The recent events in China concerning a WTA player, Peng Shuai, are of deep concern. As an organization dedicated to women, we remain committed to the principles we were founded on - equality, opportunity and respect," WTA CEO Steve Simon said in a statement released on Sunday.
"Peng Shuai, and all women, deserve to be heard, not censored. Her accusation about the conduct of a former Chinese leader involving a sexual assault must be treated with the utmost seriousness. In all societies, the behavior she alleges that took place needs to be investigated, not condoned or ignored.
We commend Peng Shuai for her remarkable courage and strength in coming forward. Women around the world are finding their voices so injustices can be corrected. "We expect this issue to be handled properly, meaning the allegations must be investigated fully, fairly, transparently and without censorship.
"Our absolute and unwavering priority is the health and safety of our players. We are speaking out so justice can be done”.
Peng 'vanished' after making accusations on social media
Peng's post on Weibo -- in which she accused Gaoli of sexual assault -- was quickly deleted and all of her recent content on the site has been removed.
Peng revealed she and Gaoli had been involved in a periodical affair since 2011 when the pair met in Tianjin. Also, Peng revealed they slept once in 2011 and possibly a second time before Gaoli was promoted the bureau and cut all ties with her.
According to Peng, Gaoli tried to rekindletheir relationship in 2018 and pressured her into sex. Peng claims she was "crying" and refusing Zhang's advances, before eventually succumbing and reigniting an "unpleasant" three-year affair.