Naomi Osaka expresses concern over Peng Shuai, tennis star missing since accusing former Chinese official of assault

Naomi Osaka is among a group of athletes who have expressed concern about Peng Shuai, the tennis star whose whereabouts are unknown after she claimed to have sexually assaulted a former Chinese official.

Osaka in a tweet expressed concern for Peng’s safety, explaining that she “went missing shortly after it was revealed that she had been sexually abused.” The tennis star wrote, “Censorship is never okay at any cost”, adding, “I hope Peng Shuai and her family are safe and well. I am in shock with the current situation and I’m sending her love and light.”

Earlier this month Peng accused former Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli sexual assault in a post on Chinese social media platform Weibo. “I didn’t agree to have sex with you and continued to cry that afternoon,” she wrote to Zhang, alleging that they had a relationship for 10 years. Her post was quickly deleted and she has not been seen in public since, according to CNN. Chinese censors took action to block search terms related to her allegation, NBC News reports. Based on New York Times, “searches for her name and even the word ‘tennis’ appear to have been blocked.”

Women’s Tennis Association on Sunday is called for Chinese journals to conduct an investigation into the allegations. WTA Tour CEO Steve Simon said he “has received confirmation from a number of sources, including the Chinese Tennis Association, that [Peng] safe and free from any physical threat,” New York Times report. He added that “my understanding is that she is in Beijing, China, but I cannot confirm that as I have not spoken to her directly.”

Several tennis stars in recent days have also expressed concern for Peng’s safety. Novak Djokovic speak what a “shock when she went missing” while Billie Jean King tweeted“Hopefully Peng Shuai is found safe and her accusations are fully investigated.” | Naomi Osaka expresses concern over Peng Shuai, tennis star missing since accusing former Chinese official of assault


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