Doubt cast on email from Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai

The head of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) has cast doubt on an email released by Chinese state media attributed to tennis player Peng Shuai.

Steve Simon, chairman of the WTA, said in a statement he had a "hard time believing" the email was written by Ms Peng or on her behalf.

One of China's biggest sporting stars, she has not been heard from since she made sexual assault allegations against a top Chinese official.

The email was shared on Wednesday.

Broadcaster CGTN published the correspondence - allegedly written by Ms Peng - online. Written in her voice, it claims she was not missing or unsafe, adding: "I've just been resting at home and everything is fine."

The email also said the sexual assault allegation attributed to her was false.

Many responding on social media have cast doubt on the authenticity of the email - including pointing out that a typing cursor appears to be visible on the screenshot of the email published by CGTN.

Ms Peng - a former number one-ranked tennis doubles player - had not been heard from since posting an allegation about former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli on Chinese social media site Weibo in early November.

She alleged she was "forced" into sexual relations with Mr Zhang - who served as China's Vice Premier between 2013 and 2018 and was a close ally of President Xi Jinping - in a post that was later taken down. She has not been seen or heard from publicly since.

The WTA and leading voices from the world of tennis have increasingly spoken out about Ms Peng since.


Photo file  Caption: Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai 


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