UN asks for whereabouts of missing Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai
Geneva, Nov 19 (EFE).- The United Nations on Friday said it wanted proof of the whereabouts of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, who has not been seen in public for two weeks since she accused a senior official of sexual assault.
At the beginning of the month, Peng published a message on Chinese social media site Weibo alleging that Zhang Gaoli, the country’s vice premier between 2012-17, had “forced” her into sex. The post disappeared less than 30 minutes later.
“It would be important to have proof of her whereabouts and well-being and we would urge that there be an investigation with full transparency into her allegations of sexual assault,” Liz Throssell, a spokeswoman for the UN’s human rights office (OHCHR), told reporters in Geneva on Friday.
“According to available information, Peng, a former world doubles number one, hasn’t been heard from publicly since she alleged on social media that she had been sexually assaulted.”
Chinese state media this week published an email in which Peng purportedly said she was safe and that her allegation against Zhang was not true.
Rather than allay fears, the chairman of the Women’s Tennis Association Steve Simon questioned the authenticity of the statement and said it “only raises my concerns as to her safety and whereabouts.”
Tennis stars have rallied round the campaign for Peng.
Serena Williams on Thursday tweeted: “I am devastated and shocked to hear about the news of my peer, Peng Shuai. I hope she is safe and found as soon as possible.”
“This must be investigated and we must not stay silent. Sending love to her and her family during this incredibly difficult time”
Peng has won two Grand Slam Doubles, first at Wimbledon in 2013 and at the French Open the following year. EFE