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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday November 19, 2021

Seventeen days after China’s Peng Shuai levied allegations of sexual assault on a high-ranking Chinese government official, the hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai is blowing up on Twitter, as the tennis community has rallied around the cause of the 35-year-old WTA star.

Tennis Express

In the past few days alone, top tennis stars have taken to social media and called for justice for Peng, whose post was scrubbed from the internet 20 minutes after it had been posted, as the Chinese government’s attempt to censor the former doubles World No.1 have increased worry in the tennis community about her well-being.

More on Peng Shuai: WTA Releases Statement Condemning Chinse Censorship of Peng | Dubious Statement Regarding Peng Shuai Elicits Firm Response from Steve Simon

Earlier this week, we reported about an email that was allegedly sent by Peng to the WTA, which was deemed dubious by WTA chief Steve Simon. In the letter, which was supposedly uncovered by Chinese state-run media, Peng reportedly said: “The news in that release, including the allegation of sexual assault, is not true. I’m not missing, nor am I unsafe. I’ve just been resting at home and everything is fine. Thank you again for caring about me.”

That questionable email has only emboldened those who support Peng, especially Simon, who is leading the WTA as it takes a stand against China’s attempts to silence Peng.

"The statement released today by Chinese state media concerning Peng Shuai only raises my concerns as to her safety and whereabouts,” Simon wrote last week. “I have a hard time believing that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email we received or believes what is being attributed to her. Peng Shuai displayed incredible courage in describing an allegation of sexual assault against a former top official in the Chinese government. The WTA and the rest of the world need independent and verifiable proof that she is safe. I have repeatedly tried to reach her via numerous forms of communications, to no avail."

Prior to that statement, Simon had told the New York Times that he’d even consider pulling the tour out of China, its biggest financial backer, where 10 tour events are scheduled for 2021.

“If at the end of the day, we don’t see the appropriate results from this, we would be prepared to take that step and not operate our business in China if that’s what it came to,” he said.

The WTA chief doubled down last night in an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett (watch below, it will be worth your time).

In it he explained the tour’s repeated attempts to contact Peng, what he thought of the suspicious email he received from her, and made it clear that he is serious about pulling the WTA out of China if the situation doesn’t improve dramatically.

"We're definitely willing to pull our business and deal with all the complications that come with it, because this is bigger than the business,” he said.

Meanwhile, the hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai continues to trend, and nobody seems to have had any authentic communication with Peng.