The European Union said it wanted China to release “verifiable evidence” that tennis player Peng Shuai was safe and that it was conducting a thorough and transparent investigation into her allegations of sexual assault.
Peng, a triple Olympic player and former top-ranked doubles player, fell out of public view after accusing a former Communist Party official of sexual assault.
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Peng has had few direct contacts with officials outside China since she disappeared from the public eye earlier this month. She told Olympic officials in a video call on November 21 from Beijing that she was safe and sound.
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“Her recent public appearance does not alleviate concerns about her security and freedom,” an EU spokesman said.
Peng made allegations of sexual assault online against a former member of the ruling standing committee of the Communist Party, Zhang Gaoli. The tennis player’s post was removed within minutes and she stopped performing in public.
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“The EU endorses growing international demands, including from sports professionals, for assurances that she is free and not threatened,” the EU said in a statement. “In this spirit, the EU calls on the Chinese Government to provide verifiable evidence of Peng Shuai’s safety, well-being and whereabouts. The EU urges the Chinese authorities to conduct a full, fair and transparent investigation into her allegations of sexual assault.”
Peng adds to a growing number of Chinese businessmen, activists and ordinary people who have disappeared from the public eye in recent years after criticizing party figures or in suppressing corruption or pro-democracy and labor rights campaigns.
“The EU strongly opposes the use of forced disappearance and arbitrary detention practices … and calls on China to comply with its human rights obligations under national and international law,” the EU said.
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