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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday November 14, 2021

Two weeks ago we learned that former world No. 1 doubles player Peng Shuai accused former China's Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault, according to published reports by the BBC, New York Times and Washington Post.

Tennis Express

More recently, rumors are circulating that Shuai has disappeared. She has been reportedly been missing (certainly not heard from on social media) for about ten days, while Chinese online censors have scrubbed the internet clean of all information related to the accusations.

According to the Daily Mail, Peng's original Weibo post has been deleted and even the word "tennis" was censored on the social network.

From the Daily Mail: "During a press conference on November 3, a spokesman for Beijing's foreign ministry refused to be drawn on the subject, saying flatly: 'I have not heard of it and it is not a diplomatic question.'"

On Sunday the WTA broke its silence on the subject, releasing a statement calling for a full investigation.

Statement from Steve Simon, WTA Chairman & CEO:

"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,” the statement read.

“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."

Though it may have come a bit later than desired, it is a strong statement coming from the tour, given how much has been invested in China over the last decade.

“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."

The statement comes as chatter on social media began to bubble, with several players, present and former, expressing concern.