BEIJING, China: China is blocking CNN's coverage of the disappearance of tennis star Peng Shuai, according to network officials.
Peng Shuai accused China's former vice premier, Zhang Gaoli, of sexual assault in a now-deleted Weibo post from 2nd November.
On Thursday, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper said on air, "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."
CNN anchor Erin Burnett said on her show, "Out Front," on Thursday, a Chinese government spokesperson said Peng's case was "not a diplomatic issue."
"Although we understand that as I speak about this, CNN goes to black in China because they don't want it broadcast," she said.
Also, all mention of Peng's name and related topics have been removed from Chinese websites and social media platforms, since her accusations.
A letter allegedly from Peng was published by Chinese state media, which stated, "The news in that release, including the allegation of sexual assault, is not true. I am not missing, nor I am unsafe."
However, Insider's Barnaby Lane reported that the letter has met with skepticism and has increased fears for her safety.
Additionally, the head of the Women's Tennis Association has called for an investigation into Peng's allegations, stressing that no one had been able to contact Peng since her social media post.
The incident is not China's first attempt at blocking CNN. In December 2019, CNN's broadcast was blocked when it covered events in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.