The European Union demanded on Tuesday China release “verifiable proof” of the safety of tennis player Peng Shuai, who disappeared earlier this month.
The EU is seeking evidence that Peng, a three-time Olympian and former top-ranked doubles player, is safe after she disappeared from the public eye earlier this month. The tennis star went missing after she accused a former Communist Party official, Zhang Gaoli, of sexual assault, and there has been little evidence to point to her well-being since.
“The EU joins growing international demands, including by sport professionals, for assurances that she is free and not under threat,” the EU said in a statement. “In this spirit, the EU requests the Chinese government to provide verifiable proof of Peng Shuai’s safety, well-being and whereabouts."
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The EU is also asking Chinese authorities to conduct a full investigation into Peng's allegations of sexual assault against Zhang, who allegedly coerced her into sex and a nonconsensual relationship, the outlet reported.
Chinese authorities have insisted Peng is safe, and she apparently reemerged publicly on Nov. 21, when she was seen in footage at a youth tournament in Beijing. Steve Simon, the CEO of the Women's Tennis Association, was unconvinced Peng was safe, calling the footage "insufficient."
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Peng made the accusations against Zhang, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee of China, in a post on the social media site Weibo on Nov. 3. The post was deleted within half an hour, but screenshots of it were taken and spread across private chat groups and search terms across the Chinese internet.
Simon has since threatened to pull the WTA out of China if she remains unaccounted for, saying business interests should not get in the way of doing "what's right."