The tennis star Peng Shuai.
Getty/Wang He
  • Peng Shuai has not been seen since she accused a former Chinese official of sexual assault.
  • Two CNN anchors said the network's signal in China cuts out every time it covers the disappearance.
  • Chinese state media published a letter supposedly from Peng, but its authenticity is in doubt.
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CNN anchors said China blocks the network's broadcast every time it covers the disappearance of the tennis star Peng Shuai.

Peng accused China's former vice premier, Zhang Gaoli, of sexual assault in a now-deleted Weibo post on November 2. She has not been seen in public since.

The CNN anchor Anderson Cooper said on air on Thursday: "China is once again blocking CNN's signal to prevent further reporting on the disappearance of tennis star Peng Shuai." "Every time CNN covers this story, the Chinese government blocks CNN's signal there," he said.

On her "Out Front" show Thursday, the CNN anchor Erin Burnett also reported that a Chinese government spokesperson said Peng's case was "not a diplomatic issue" when asked about her whereabouts.

"Although we understand that as I speak about this, CNN goes to black in China because they don't want it broadcast," Burnett said.

Chinese websites and social media platforms have scrubbed all mention of Peng's name and related topics since her accusation. China's internet often censors topics deemed unsavory to the government.

On Wednesday, Chinese state media published a letter supposedly from Peng, which said: "The news in that release, including the allegation of sexual assault, is not true. I'm not missing, nor I am unsafe."

But, as Insider's Barnaby Lane reported, the letter has been met with a lot of skepticism and has increased fears for her safety.

The head of the Women's Tennis Association called for an investigation into Peng's allegations, and said that no one had been able to talk to Peng directly since her social media post.

This is not the first time China has blocked CNN's signal in the country. In December 2019, the network's broadcast went dark when it covered the topics of Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

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