Calls for for proof of Chinese language tennis star’s security following disappearance

The US and UN have demanded proof of Peng Shuai’s whereabouts who has not been seen in public since alleging she was sexually exploited by a former vice-premier of China.

Peng Shuai of China reacts throughout her girls’s singles match towards Elena Vesnina of Russia on 3 November 2017. Image: AFP

GENEVA – The USA and United Nations on Friday demanded proof of Peng Shuai’s whereabouts as concern rises for the tennis star, who has not been seen in public since alleging she was sexually exploited by a former vice-premier of China.

Late Friday images of a smiling Peng emerged on a Chinese language state media-affiliated social media account, however their authenticity couldn’t be verified and the person didn’t reply to AFP’s request for remark.

Earlier White Home press secretary Jen Psaki had mentioned President Joe Biden’s administration wished China to “present unbiased, verifiable proof” of Peng’s whereabouts and expressed “deep concern” concerning the former world top-ranked doubles participant.

The United Nations insisted on a completely clear investigation into the claims made by Peng towards Communist Occasion grandee Zhang Gaoli, the primary time China’s #MeToo motion has touched the very best echelons of the nation’s politics.

Peng, 35, alleged on the Chinese language social media website Weibo earlier this month that Zhang, now in his 70s, had “pressured” her into intercourse throughout a long-term on-off relationship.

The claims have been rapidly scrubbed from the Twitter-like platform and Peng has not been seen publicly since.

“It could be vital to have proof of her whereabouts and well-being,” Liz Throssell, a spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Workplace, advised reporters in Geneva.

“We’re calling for an investigation with full transparency into her allegation of sexual assault.”

Different tennis stars, sports activities our bodies, governments and human rights defenders have added to the rising clamour for data.

China has repeatedly refused to touch upon the case.


The 4 undated pictures that emerged late Friday have been posted by the Twitter account @shen_shiwei, labelled “Chinese language state-affiliated media” by the social community.

The person mentioned the photographs have been shared on Peng’s WeChat Moments, a perform usually restricted to mates, to want her followers a “good weekend”.

One picture reveals the smiling participant with a cat in her arms, with stuffed animals, a trophy and a Chinese language flag seen within the background.

One other reveals a selfie of Peng with a picture of Winnie the Pooh within the background. The youngsters’s character is commonly censored on-line in China as a result of critics say Chinese language chief Xi Jinping resembles the cartoon.

Earlier this week, state-run CGTN revealed a screenshot, additionally on Twitter, of what it mentioned was an e mail written by Peng to the top and officers of the WTA, the highest world physique for girls’s tennis.

In it, Peng claims that her earlier accusations are “not true” and says she is “resting at house and every part is okay”.

However doubts have been flagged concerning the awkward language and the cursor seen within the screenshot.

Twitter is a blocked social community in China, and solely folks with a VPN-type workaround can entry it.


On Saturday Craig Tiley, CEO of Tennis Australia and event chief of the Australian Open, grew to become the newest determine from the tennis world to weigh in.

“The first factor for us is to guarantee that she’s protected,” he mentioned.

“We have utilised the channels that we’ve got working behind the scenes to search out out, to get extra readability on her security.”

The pinnacle of the WTA has mentioned he’s prepared to lose a whole lot of thousands and thousands of {dollars} value of Chinese language enterprise in one of many organisation’s largest markets to make sure Peng’s wellbeing.

On Friday Novak Djokovic mentioned he backed the WTA’s menace and its president “completely”.

“The entire tennis group must again her up and her household and guarantee that she is protected and sound,” mentioned Djokovic, a 20-time Grand Slam champion.

“If in case you have tournaments on Chinese language soil with out resolving this example it will be a bit bit unusual,” he added.

Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka have additionally voiced their issues for one in all China’s biggest ever gamers.

Peng represented China within the Beijing, London and Rio de Janeiro Olympics and gained gold for China on the 2010 Asian Video games.

She is a former Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion.


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