Peng Shuai is a former world number one in doubles, who won, together with Su-Wei Hsieh, two Grand Slam titles: Wimbledon 2013 and the Roland Garros 2014. In singles, her highest achievement was the semifinal of 2014 at the US Open.
On 2 November 2021, Peng posted a lengthy message on her Weibo microblog account, accusing Zhang Gaoli, a former Chinese vice premier and high-ranking member of the Communist Party of China, of se*ual assault that occurred about a decade before her. Peng said that following this incident, Zhang had an extramarital affair with her.
While the prosecution drew attention to the Me Too movement in China, her post was removed from Weibo within 20 minutes of uploading and discussion of the matter became subject to general censorship across all social media and reporting agencies. Chinese press. This was the first time that a top CCP member had faced such allegations of misconduct in public.
Since November 11, 2021, she has no longer communicated on social media. On November 14, WTA Chief Executive Steve Simon called on Chinese authorities to investigate Peng's allegations and also called for an end to official Chinese censorship on the matter. The Chinese Tennis Association has sent a confirmation to the WTA informing that Peng is safe and is not under any physical threat. However Simon stated that no one associated with the WTA, including officials and active players, had been able to reach out to her directly to confirm her status.
On November 20, 2021, two videos portraying Peng Shuai in a restaurant in Beijing were released, followed by two other videos of Peng presiding during a tennis event and signing some autographs. The international press questioned the authenticity of the disseminated contents. On November 21, Peng Shuai took part in a video conference call with members of the International Olympic Committee from her home in Beijing, confirming that she was safe.
In early December 2021 Steve Simon announced the suspension of all WTA tournaments in China following the inability to contact Peng personally. A communication from the ITF also arrived a few days later, intent on no longer wanting to organize tournaments in China for the whole of 2022. On December 19, 2021, Peng Shuai reappears in a video posted on Twitter.