The online edition of the New York Times has run an editorial about the Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai. Peng has reportedly not been seen in public since she made a sexual assault allegation against former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.
The editorial questions China's fitness to host the Beijing Winter Olympics. It is titled "Where Is Peng Shuai?", and says when China is confronted with criticism its playbook is to "deny, lie, play dumb, hope it goes away and, when all else fails, strike back ferociously."
The editorial goes on to say that "the very straightforwardness of her plight inevitably leads to fundamental questions about China's fitness to host a global sporting event that purports to follow an Olympic ideal of building a better world through sport."
There have been mounting calls for an investigation from the professional tennis world, the United Nations, the US and other countries.
Videos purportedly showing Peng have been uploaded on social media accounts of people working for one of China's state-backed media outlets in an apparent effort to defuse the criticisms.