Tennis 2021: last Peng Shuai, White House, American statement, United Nations, UN, Novak Djokovic

The mystery of tennis player Peng Shuai has caught the world’s attention with the United States and the UN joining the chase.

The United States and the UN on Friday demanded proof of Peng Shuai’s whereabouts and well-being, as the tennis star grows in concern, missing since she alleged that ‘she had been sexually exploited by a former Chinese vice premier.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden’s administration wanted China to “provide independent and verifiable evidence” of Peng’s whereabouts and expressed “deep concern. About the world’s highest ranked former doubles player.

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The United Nations insisted that a fully transparent investigation be conducted into Peng’s allegations against senior Communist Party official Zhang Gaoli.

Tennis stars, sports organizations, governments and human rights activists also spoke out on behalf of Peng, 35, and demanded information.

The president of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) said he was ready to sever lucrative business ties with China if Peng was still not found and her sexual assault allegations were not investigated.

Novak Djokovic has said he supports the WTA threat.

“I hope she is found and that she is in good health and that all is well, at least the worst is avoided. I absolutely support the statement of the WTA as an organization and also of its president, ”said Djokovic, 20-time Grand Slam champion.

“The whole tennis community needs to support her and her family and make sure she is safe and sound. Because if you have tournaments on Chinese soil without resolving this situation, that would be a little strange, so I understand why the WTA has taken such a position.

Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka have also expressed concerns for one of the greatest Chinese players of all time.

“It would be important to have proof of your fate and well-being,” Liz Throssell, spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office in Geneva, told reporters.

“According to available information, Peng, a former double world number one, has not been heard publicly since she alleged on social media that she was sexually assaulted.

“We are calling for a transparent investigation into his allegation of sexual assault.”

Peng alleged on Chinese social media site Weibo earlier this month that Zhang, now in her 60s, “forced” her to have sex during a long-term relationship.

The claims were quickly erased from the Twitter-like platform and it has not been seen since.

The WTA, the world’s highest body in women’s tennis, has asked for proof that Peng is safe.

His boss, Steve Simon, said he was prepared to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in Chinese business in one of the WTA’s biggest markets to keep Peng safe.

“We are definitely ready to pull our business and face all the complications that come with it,” Simon told CNN.

“Women must be respected and not censored. “

Tennis legend Serena Williams has also called for an investigation.

“I am devastated and shocked to hear the news from my peer, Peng Shuai,” the former world number one singles wrote on Twitter.

“This needs to be investigated and we must not remain silent.”

Peng represented China at the Olympic Games in Beijing, London and Rio de Janeiro and won gold for China at the 2010 Asian Games.

She is a former Wimbledon and Roland Garros doubles champion.

France said the international community and sports bodies were concerned about Peng’s situation.

“We are concerned about the lack of information,” the French foreign ministry said.

“We call on the Chinese authorities to implement their commitments in the fight against violence against women. ”

The Lawn Tennis Association, the governing body of the sport in Britain, has offered to assist the WTA in their efforts to establish Peng’s safety.

Peng’s claims brought the #MeToo movement to the highest echelons of the ruling Communist Party in China for the first time.

“The Chinese government has systematically silenced the country’s #MeToo movement,” said Doriane Lau, China researcher at Amnesty International.

“Given that he also has a zero tolerance approach to criticism, it is deeply concerning that Peng Shuai appears to be lacking,” she said.

China has repeatedly declined to comment on its fate or the case. But Hu Xijin, the outspoken editor of the Communist Party-owned Global Times, tweeted on Friday that he did not believe that “Peng Shuai suffered retaliation and repression speculated by foreign media for what people have been talking about. “.

Earlier this week, state-owned CGTN posted on Twitter a screenshot of what it said was an email Peng wrote to Simon and other WTA officials.

In the email, Peng claims her previous accusations are “not true” and says that she “is resting at home and everything is fine.”

But doubts were quickly raised about the clunky language used in the alleged email and the cursor visible in the screenshot.

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