After accusing a senior Communist Party official for sexual abuse, a Chinese tennis star had her social media blocked and her name censored overnight.
Peng Shuai, 35, accused 75-year-old Zhang Gaoli of coercing her into having sex with him in a lengthy post uploaded to her Weibo account overnight.
Social media users quickly deleted the post. However, they took screenshots that were shared widely across other platforms.
China has been the victim of #MeToo scandals in the past, but this is the first instance involving a high ranking member of the CCP.
Peng Shuai, 35-year-old Chinese tennis star, claims that a high ranking Communist Party official sexually assaulted her on her Weibo account
Peng made the allegation via a lengthy Weibo social media post. Her account was then heavily censored.
Zhang was a vice-premier in Beijing and served on the ruling party’s powerful seven-member standing committee of the political bureau.
Peng is a household name, having been ranked No.1 in doubles in China by the Women’s Tennis Association.
She currently ranks 14th on the global standings.
Peng claimed to have been involved in a ten-year affair with Zhang Gaoli (pictured), saying he sexually assaulted her in 2018
MailOnline did not verify Peng’s post. Peng stated that she and Zhang had been involved in an ongoing affair dating back to 2011, when they met in Tianjin.
The post describes how Peng slept with Zhang one time that year and possibly another before he was promoted at the bureau and severed all ties with her.
After his retirement from politics, he allegedly rekindled their affair in 2018, inviting Peng to dinner with his wife. He then pressured Peng into having sex.
Peng recalls ‘crying and refusing Zhang’s advances, before finally relenting.
Peng claimed that this started a three-year affair which she described as ‘unpleasant’.
In the post, she admits that there is no evidence that the affair ever occurred because Zhang insisted on keeping the secret.
It is also not clear why she choose to reveal the affair now, though her post concluded: ‘You’ve said you are not afraid.
“But even as an eggs hurled at rocks, a moth towards a flame for self destruction, I will speak truth with you.
Peng, who was the first Chinese woman to rank as No.1 in doubles, is now a household name in China.
Zhang is a prominent CCP member who, until 2018, was a member on the powerful seven-man Standing Committee of the Political Bureau (pictured with President Putin).
Within 20 minutes of being uploaded onto Weibo (which is heavily monitored in China), the post was taken down.
Peng’s profile was temporarily disabled and did not show up in search results on the site.
MailOnline discovered that the profile was still active and appears on a Google Search, but the post is missing. Also, comments on Peng’s other posts have been disabled.
The error occurs when you try to post about Peng and Zhang on Weibo.
The error message indicates that the post violates’relevant law and regulations’, but does not elaborate further.
China’s foreign ministry denied any knowledge of this matter, and Zhang also has not responded.
Lv Pin, a Chinese activist for women’s rights, tweeted shortly after the post was revealed: ‘They [the CCP]They have always been decadent and rotten.
They’ve always been exploiting women, but it’s only that it’s been done behind black curtains.
‘Her revelation is very important, for it lets people get a glimpse of the real life of China’s highest leaders, their excessive abuse of power, corruption and their fear behind a moral façade wrapped in power.’