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Tennis star Peng Shuai has gone missing. Her disappearance, explained

What has happened to Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai?

Peng Shuai of China celebrates after winning the women’s singles match.
Peng Shuai, of China, celebrates after winning the women’s singles match against Venus Williams of the United States in the China Open tennis tournament at the National Tennis Stadium in Beijing, Monday, Oct. 3, 2016. Peng disappeared after a sexual-assault allegation against a retired official from China’s Communist Party, raising concerns about her whereabouts across the globe.
Andy Wong, Associated Press

Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai disappeared after a sexual-assault allegation against a retired official from China’s Communist Party, raising concerns about her whereabouts across the globe.

What happened to Peng Shuai?

Peng, one of the biggest tennis stars in China, went missing in early November after she made a public allegation of sexual assault against a retired official from China’s Communist Party, per The Wall Street Journal.

Who is looking for Peng Shuai?

Multiple people — from global sports stars to governing bodies — have questioned Chinese authorities about her whereabouts in the days since she went missing.

Liz Throssell, the spokesperson of the U.N. Human Rights office, said Friday that China needs to show proof of her whereabouts, according to CNN.

  • “What we would say is that it would be important to have proof of her whereabouts and wellbeing, and we would urge that there be an investigation with full transparency into her allegations of sexual assault,” she said.
  • “According to available information, the former world doubles No. 1 hasn’t been heard from publicly since she alleged on social media that she was sexually assaulted. We would stress that it is important to know where she is and know her state, know about her wellbeing,” Throssell said, per CNN.

The International Olympic Committee told ESPN: “Experience shows that quiet diplomacy offers the best opportunity to find a solution for questions of such nature. This explains why the IOC will not comment any further at this stage.”

What does China say about Peng Shuai?

China’s Foreign Ministry said Friday it wasn’t aware of the controversy surrounding the tennis star, according to ESPN.

  • Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters that the matter was “not a diplomatic question and I’m not aware of the situation.”

Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka tweet about Peng Shuai

Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, and Billie Jean King all tweeted about Peng’s disappearance, calling for an investigation into finding her.

  • Williams: “I am devastated and shocked to hear about the news of my peer, Peng Shuai. I hope she is safe and found as soon as possible. This must be investigated and we must not stay silent. Sending love to her and her family during this incredibly difficult time. #whereispengshuai.”
  • Osaka: “Censorship is never OK at any cost, I hope Peng Shuai and her family are safe and OK. I’m in shock of the current situation and I’m sending love and light her way.”
  • King: “Hoping that Peng Shuai is found safe and that her accusations are fully investigated.”