Where politicians are failing to act on Peng Shuai, angry athletes are taking a stand | Gaby Hinsliff

Olympic officials want to take a ‘softly softly’ approach, but those competing in Beijing know it can’t be business as usual

The message was deleted within seconds of appearing on the Chinese social media network Weibo. But it has reverberated around the world ever since. Posted on the Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai’s account, it accused the 75-year-old former Chinese vice-premier Zhang Gaoli of sexually assaulting her after inviting her to play tennis at his house.

Later, the post added, they had an “on-off” consensual relationship but now the former world doubles champion wanted the world to know what had happened. “I never consented that afternoon, crying all the time,” it went on. “Like an egg hitting a rock, or a moth to the flame, courting self-destruction, I’ll tell the truth about you.”

Gaby Hinsliff is a Guardian columnist

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