Proof of Peng Shuai’s well-being demanded


The United States and United Nations demanded proof of Peng Shuai‘s whereabouts as a Chinese state-affiliated journalist shared unverified photographs of the tennis star, who has not been seen publicly since accusing a former vice-premier of forcing her to have intercourse.

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

Earlier White House press secretary Jen Psaki had stated President Joe Biden’s administration needed China to “provide independent, verifiable proof” of Peng’s whereabouts and expressed “deep concern” concerning the former world top-ranked doubles participant.

The United Nations insisted on a totally clear investigation into the claims made by Peng in opposition to Communist Party 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 social media web site Weibo earlier this month that Zhang, now in his 70s, had “forced” her into intercourse throughout an on-off relationship spanning a number of years.

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

“It would be important to have proof of her whereabouts and well-being,” Liz Throssell, a spokeswoman for the UN Human Rights Office, advised reporters in Geneva.

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

Other 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 state-affiliated media” by the social community.

The person stated the images have been shared on Peng’s WeChat Moments, a operate typically restricted to buddies, 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 flag seen within the background.

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

On Saturday, Hu Xijin, the outspoken editor of the Communist Party-owned Global Times, tweeted: “she will show up in public and participate in some activities soon.”

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

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

But 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, turned the newest determine from the tennis world to weigh in.

“The primary thing for us is to make sure that she’s safe,” he stated.

“We’ve utilised the channels that we have working behind the scenes to find out, to get more clarity on her safety.”

The head of the WTA has stated he’s keen to lose a whole lot of tens of millions of {dollars} price of Chinese enterprise in one of many organisation’s greatest markets to make sure Peng’s wellbeing.

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

“The whole tennis community needs to back her up and her family and make sure that she is safe and sound,” stated Djokovic, a 20-time Grand Slam champion.

“If you have tournaments on Chinese soil without resolving this situation it would be a little bit strange,” he added.

Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka have additionally voiced their considerations for one in every of 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 Games.

She is a former Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion.

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