The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) has called for a fair and transparent investigation into sexual allegations against a former Chinese vice-premier.
Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, 35, accused 75-year-old Zhang Gaoli of sexual coercion in a post uploaded to Chinese microblogging website Weibo.
The post was soon deleted along with all of the player's content on the website.
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The WTA also called for an end of censorship against the former Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion who is one of China's biggest sports stars.
"The recent events in China concerning a WTA player, Peng Shuai, are of deep concern," said WTA Tour chairman and CEO Steve Simon in a statement.
"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."
ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi added in a statement: "There is nothing more important to us than the safety of our tennis community.
"We have been deeply concerned by the uncertainty surrounding the immediate safety and whereabouts of WTA player Peng Shuai. We are encouraged by the recent assurances received by WTA that she is safe and accounted for and will continue to monitor the situation closely. Separately, we stand in full support of WTA’s call for a full, fair and transparent investigation into allegations of sexual assault against Peng Shuai."
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