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Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai is missing; here’s what you need to know

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Peng Shuai had alleged that former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli had "forced" her into sex during a long-term on-off relationship.

Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai is missing; here’s what you need to know
The mystery surrounding the whereabouts of Peng Shuai deepened after Chinese state media published an email purportedly from the 35-year-old  tennis star
Peng, a former Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion, alleged on social media platform Weibo earlier this month that former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli had "forced" her into sex during a long-term on-off relationship.
The claims were quickly scrubbed from social media and she has not been seen since, drawing mounting concern over her wellbeing.
However, state-run outlet CGTN has now published a screenshot on Twitter of what it said was an email written by Peng Shuai.
In the email, Peng purportedly claims that her earlier accusations of sexual abuse are "not true" and says she is "resting at home and everything is fine."
Concerns mount
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) on Thursday said it  supports an investigation into the whereabouts of Peng Shuai.
“Player safety is always our top priority and we support a full and transparent investigation into this matter,” the governing body said.
Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) chairman Steve Simon has also expressed doubt over the email published by CGTN quoting Shuai .
“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 communication, to no avail,” he said.
Simon’s demands were backed up by human rights group Amnesty International, which said that China must prove that the player is safe.
“Peng’s recent so-called statement that ‘everything is fine’ should not be taken at face value as China’s state media has a track record of forcing statements out of individuals under duress, or else simply fabricating them,” said Amnesty’s China researcher, Doriane Lau.
Grand Slam champions Novak Djokovic, Naomi Osaka and Chris Evert have also expressed concern over her case this week.
(With inputs from Agencies)
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