Some of the world's most famous tennis players, distraught by the disappearance of colleague Peng Shuai, are challenging China's Communist Party to get answers.
So far it's a standoff with little visible impact as tennis greats like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal — joined by tennis governing bodies, human rights groups, retired players, and several athletes' lobbies — try to turn their profiles into power.
a two-time Grand Slam champion and former No. 1 in doubles, disappeared after making allegations of sexual assault over two weeks ago against former vice premier Zhang Gaoli, who was a member of the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee and a lieutenant of General Secretary Xi Jinping.
Athletes may sense a pressure point.
China is just 2 1/2 months from hosting the Beijing Winter Olympics, which is facing
a diplomatic boycott over allegations of crimes against humanity involving at least 1 million Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities.
NBA player Enes Kanter has been the most outspoken in defense of the Uyghurs, calling Xi a "brutal dictator."