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Peng Shuai. Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Serena Williams is the latest top athlete to speak out about Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai on Thursday, calling for an investigation into her disappearance amid concern for her safety.

Why it matters: Peng, 35, has not been seen in public since she accused China's former vice premier of sexual assault earlier this month. China's state-controlled media suppressed all reporting on the case.

  • The allegations on Peng's social media page were removed earlier this month, and China's state-controlled media has suppressed all reporting on the case, AP reports.
  • Tennis authorities have called for a full investigation into the allegations by the two-time Grand Slam doubles champion.
  • Williams joins tennis stars including Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic who've drawn international attention to Peng's disappearance.

Driving the news: On Wednesday, China's state-owned broadcaster CGTN released an email purportedly from Peng, in which she claims she is fine and appears to deny her previous allegations.

What they're saying: "I am devastated and shocked to hear about the news of my peer, Peng Shuai," Williams tweeted.

  • "I hope she is safe and found as soon as possible. This must be investigated and we must not stay silent. Sending love to her and her family during this incredibly difficult time.
  • “Not sure if you’ve been following the news but I was recently informed of a fellow tennis player that has gone missing shortly after revealing that she has been sexually abused," Osaka wrote on Twitter. "Censorship is never ok at any cost.”
  • "Honestly it's shocking that she's missing," Djokovic said, according to AFP. "There's not much more to say than to hope that she's ok and it's just terrible... I can imagine how her family feels, you know, that she's missing."

Worth noting: The WTA has called on Chinese officials to investigate Peng's sexual assault allegations.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 23, 2021 - Technology

China's new privacy law leaves U.S. behind

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

While China's sweeping new data privacy laws have left tech companies confused about how to comply, they also put the U.S. even further behind in the global race to set digital standards.

What's happening: China enacted its Personal Information Privacy Law earlier this month, following Europe as the second major international player to have its own sweeping data privacy regulations.

Storms pummel flood-hit Pacific Northwest as border river overflows

An image of the water-logged Sumas Prairie area taken last Friday. Photo: B.C. Ministry of Transportation/Twitter.

The latest ferocious storm system to hit the Pacific Northwest triggered fresh evacuation orders and at least one mudslide in flood-ravaged British Columbia, Canada, late Sunday.

Threat level: Flood sirens sounded in Washington state as the Nooksack River overflowed. Henry Braun, mayor of Abbotsford, B.C., told reporters the water flow was headed toward the Canadian border city later Sunday. "There's nothing to stop it," he said.

Updated 4 hours ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.