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Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai disappeared from the public eye after accusing the former vice-premier of China of sexually assaulting her. The accusation was wiped from her Weibo account within an hour.

Nothing much happened until tennis stars like Naomi Osaka and Billie Jean King, along with international media and the Women’s Tennis Association, began asking where Peng went a few weeks later. Then a message allegedly from Peng appeared, followed by a video purportedly showing her safely out at dinner. This didn’t convince everyone of her safety or that her allegations were being taken seriously by Chinese authorities.

But, as Globe sports columnist Cathal Kelly argues, it was enough to kill the news story and to quiet calls for boycotting the upcoming Beijing Olympics.

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