Chinese language tennis star Peng Shuai hasn’t been seen in public for 18 days and counting. This comes after she accused a former Chinese language Communist social gathering chief of sexual assault on Nov. 2. It has created vital concern inside the WTA and tennis neighborhood over her whereabouts.
The previous French Open and Wimbledon doubles champion claimed retired Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli pressured her into intercourse three years in the past in a since-deleted on-line put up to the Chinese language social-media web site Weibo. Peng has not been seen in public since, apart from a heavily-scrutinized video Chinese language state media launched of her at a Beijing restaurant on Saturday and an alleged video name with the president of the Worldwide Olympic Committee on Sunday.
The WTA has actively pressured China into confirming Peng’s security and investigating her allegations, even threatening to tug its profitable enterprise from the nation if these actions aren’t taken. The White Home and United Nations additionally got here to Peng’s protection, as each known as for investigations into her allegations and disappearance.
Peng’s tennis friends have been equally supportive, with Novak Djokovic calling her disappearance “stunning” and Chris Evert describing the whole state of affairs as “disturbing.” Billie Jean King wrote that she hopes Peng, a former world No. 1, is discovered secure whereas Alize Cornet added “Let’s not stay silent” with the hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai.
Probably the most distinguished ladies’s tennis participant on the planet, Naomi Osaka, tweeted that she is “in shock of the present state of affairs” and is “sending love and light-weight her approach.”
Serena Williams, the game’s preeminent pressure lengthy earlier than Osaka, shared the identical image of Peng with an equally involved sentiment.
This is a chronological have a look at how the whole state of affairs with Peng has unfolded, beginning with the most recent updates:
Nov. 21: IOC holds video name with Peng
The Worldwide Olympic Committee introduced Sunday that IOC president Thomas Bach held a video name with Peng through which she claimed to be secure. In keeping with the IOC’s assertion, the 2 had been accompanied on the decision by Chinese language sports activities official Li Lingwei in addition to Chair of the Athletes’ Fee Emma Terho.
In keeping with that assertion, Peng thanked the committee for its concern about her well-being and insisted that she was secure and nicely at her residence in Beijing, however that she “prefer to have her privateness revered presently. That’s the reason she prefers to spend her time with family and friends proper now.”
“I used to be relieved to see that Peng Shuai was doing high quality, which was our foremost concern,” learn a press release by Terho. “She seemed to be relaxed. I supplied her our help and to remain in contact at any time of her comfort, which she clearly appreciated.”
The IOC additionally claimed that Peng accepted an invite to dinner with Bach, Terho, and Li in January. The 2022 Winter Olympics are to be held in Beijing.
Nov. 20: Chinese language state media releases first footage of Peng since disappearance
Chinese language state media shared a video of Peng eating in Beijing, a day after it claimed the tennis star shared three pictures on the Chinese language social-media platform WeChat. World Occasions editor Hu Xijin, who posted the video on Twitter, stated the dinner passed off Saturday and included Peng’s mates and coach.
The video comes after Xijin tweeted Peng was “freely” staying at residence and would “take part in some actions quickly” on Friday.
Whereas WTA CEO Steve Simon stated seeing Peng within the video was a “constructive” improvement, he described the proof as “inadequate” and stays “involved about Peng Shuai’s well being and security, and that the allegation of sexual assault is being censored and swept below the rug.”
“It stays unclear if she is free and in a position to make selections and take actions on her personal, with out coercion or exterior interference,” Simon stated.
Per a Sky Information translation, the folks eating with Peng made a number of references to the date and her current performances. Peng didn’t converse within the video herself.
Nov. 19: White Home, UN name for investigation into Peng Shuai state of affairs
The White Home broke its silence on Peng’s state of affairs by demanding proof of her security and condemning China’s censorship. Press secretary Jen Psaki stated the White Home is “deeply involved” over the tennis star’s disappearance and seeks “unbiased and verifiable proof” of her location and situation.
A day prior, U.S. President Joe Biden stated he was “contemplating” a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing due to the nation’s dealing with of human rights points.
“First, any report of sexual assault needs to be investigated, and we help a ladies’s skill to talk out and search accountability whether or not right here or around the globe. Second, we’ll proceed to face up for the liberty of speech, and we all know that the PRC has zero tolerance for criticism and a report of silencing those who converse out, and we proceed to sentence these practices.”
The United Nations joined the White Home’s protection of Peng, with UN Human Rights Workplace spokesperson Liz Throssell calling for an investigation with “full transparency.”
“What we’d say is that it might be essential to have proof of her whereabouts and wellbeing, and we might urge that there be an investigation with full transparency into her allegations of sexual assault,” Throssell stated.
Nov. 19: China says it’s ‘not conscious’ of state of affairs involving Shuai
China’s Overseas Ministry revealed that they weren’t “conscious” of the state of affairs surrounding Peng Shuai, in response to the Related Press. Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian knowledgeable the media that the matter was “not a diplomatic query” and added that he’s “not conscious of the state of affairs.”
Liz Throssell, a spokeswoman for the United Nations human rights workplace in Geneva, then again, stated that the state of affairs known as for “an investigation with full transparency into her allegation of sexual assault.”
As of Friday, the Worldwide Olympic Committee declined to touch upon the matter.
Nov. 18: Simon, WTA threatens to tug Chinese language enterprise
Simon doubled down on his menace to tug the WTA’s enterprise from China, a rustic his group has expanded in over the previous a number of years, if it would not verify Peng’s security and examine her allegations.
“We’re positively prepared to tug our enterprise and cope with all of the problems that include it,” Simon advised CNN. “As a result of that is actually, that is greater than the enterprise.”
“Girls should be revered and never censored,” he added.
China hosted 19 WTA tournaments in 2019 alone for a complete of $30.4 million prize cash. Shenzhen is slated to host the WTA Finals from 2022-2030 after doing so in 2019 for the primary time. The 2019 Finals had a $14 million prize purse.
Nov. 17: WTA questions legitimacy of Peng Shuai assertion
An e mail allegedly despatched from Peng on Wednesday claimed the WTA didn’t get her consent or verification earlier than releasing its assertion. It was Peng’s first public feedback since her allegations, however some, together with the WTA, had questions concerning the legitimacy of the assertion.
“The information in that launch, together with the allegation of sexual assault, isn’t true,” the e-mail, which was tweeted out by China state-affiliated media China World Tv Community, learn. “I am not lacking, nor am I unsafe. I’ve simply been resting at residence and all the things is okay.”
Simon then brazenly questioned whether or not Peng was coerced into writing it.
“The assertion launched right now by Chinese language state media regarding Peng Shuai solely raises my issues as to her security and whereabouts,” Simon wrote. “Peng Shuai have to be allowed to talk freely, with out coercion or intimidation from any supply.”
Peng has nonetheless but to be seen since her social media put up on Nov. 2.
Nov. 15: China stays silent on Peng Shuai’s allegations, disappearance
Chinese language overseas ministry spokesman Zhao Lijan stated “this isn’t a diplomatic query” when requested about Peng’s allegations, including he had “not heard of the difficulty.” The nation, 13 days after Peng’s put up, nonetheless has but to acknowledge it.
Nov. 14: WTA chief govt requires investigation into state of affairs
Steve Simon, WTA’s chief govt, requested a “full, truthful and clear” investigation into Peng’s allegations in a press release. At that time, nobody had seen or heard from Peng for 12 days, prompting the hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai to unfold throughout social media.
“Clearly she displayed large braveness going public,” Simon advised the New York Occasions. “Now we need to ensure we’re transferring ahead to a spot the place a full and clear investigation is performed. Anything, I believe, is an affront to not solely our gamers however to all ladies.”
Simon threatened to tug the WTA’s enterprise from China if the nation didn’t correctly examine Peng’s allegations. China presently hosts 11 WTA tournaments and the tour finals in Shenzhen.
Whereas Simon could not immediately verify Peng’s whereabouts or situation, he advised the Occasions that a number of sources — together with the Chinese language Tennis Affiliation — advised him that she’s “secure and never below any bodily menace.” Simon’s “understanding” was that she was in Beijing.
Nov. 2: Peng Shuai makes sexual assault allegations in opposition to Zhang
In a 1,600-word put up to Weibo, Peng accused the 75-year-old Zhang — a former chief inside China’s Communist social gathering — of pressuring her into intercourse round three years in the past. Peng, 35, claimed the assault occurred after Zhang invited her to play tennis with him and his spouse at their home, however she admitted she had no proof.
“I used to be so scared that afternoon,” wrote Peng, who claimed a guard stood watch exterior the door whereas the assault occurred. “I by no means gave consent, crying the whole time.”
Peng stated she and Zhang turned acquainted with one another whereas the latter was serving as Tianjin’s social gathering boss from 2007-2012, and Zhang pressured her into intercourse after leaving his put up as China’s vice premier in 2017.
“I do know that for somebody of your stature, Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, you could have stated that you’re not afraid,” Peng wrote. “However even whether it is like throwing an egg in opposition to rock, or if I’m like a moth drawn to the flame, inviting self-destruction, I’ll inform the reality about you.”
The put up was deleted inside half-hour, and Chinese language censors blocked search phrases resembling Peng’s identify.