Peng Shuai explains the situation: China excuses ignorance as WTA sounds out about tennis star’s disappearance

Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai has not been seen for 17 days and is continuing. This comes after she accused a former Chinese Communist Party leader of sexual assault on November 2. It created considerable concern within the WTA and the tennis community about her whereabouts.

The French Open and Wimbledon doubles champion claims retired Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli forced her to have sex three years ago in a deleted online post on Chinese social media site Weibo. Peng has not been seen since.

NS WTA actively pressured China to confirm Peng’s safety and investigate her allegations, even threatening to withdraw their lucrative business from the country if such actions were not taken. presently.

Peng’s tennis colleagues were equally supportive, with Novak Djokovic called her disappearance “shocking” and Chris Evert described the entire situation as “worrying.” Billie Jean King wrote that she hopes Peng, the former world No. 1, is found safe while Alize Cornet added “Don’t be silent” with the hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai.

The most outstanding female tennis player on the planet, Naomi Osaka, tweeted that she is “shocked by the current situation” and is “sending love and light in her path.”

Serena Williams, the sport’s dominant force long before Osaka, shared a similar photo of Peng with equally concerned mood.

Here’s a chronological look at how the whole situation with Peng went, starting with the latest updates:

November 19: China says it ‘doesn’t know’ about Peng Shuai situation

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed that they did not “know” about the situation around Peng Shuai, according to the Associated Press. Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told the media the matter was “not a diplomatic question” and added that he was “not aware of the situation.”

On the other hand, Liz Throssell, a spokesman for the United Nations human rights office in Geneva, said that the situation calls for “a full transparency investigation into her alleged sexual assault.”

As of Friday, the International Olympic Committee declined to comment on the matter.

Nov 18, Simon, WTA threatens to pull Chinese business

Simon has doubled down on his threat to pull WTA business out of China, a country his organization has expanded into over the past few years, if it doesn’t confirm Peng’s safety and investigate the allegations. hers.

“We’re definitely ready to pull our business and deal with all the complications that come with it,” says Simon. CNN. “Because this is definitely, this is bigger than the business.”

He added: “Women need to be respected and not censored.

In 2019 alone, China hosted 19 WTA tournaments with a total prize money of $30.4 million. Shenzhen is scheduled to host the WTA Finals from 2022-2030 after the first one in 2019. The 2019 Finals have a $14 million prize pool.

November 17: WTA questions legitimacy of Peng Shuai . claim

An email allegedly sent from Peng on Wednesday claims that the WTA did not receive her consent or verification prior to releasing its statement. This is Peng’s first public comment since her allegations, but some, including the WTA, have questioned the legitimacy of the statement.

“The news in that statement, including the allegation of sexual assault, is not true,” the email was posted by China’s global television network on China’s state-run social media platform. “I’m not missing, nor am I unsafe. I’ve just rested at home and everything is fine.”

Simon then openly questioned whether Peng was coerced into writing it.

“Today’s statement by Chinese state media regarding Peng Shuai only adds to my concerns about her safety and whereabouts,” Simon wrote. “Peng Shuai must be allowed to speak freely, without coercion or threat from any source.”

Peng has not been seen since her social media post on November 2.

November 15: China keeps silent on Peng Shuai’s allegations, disappearance

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijan speak “this is not a diplomatic question” when asked about Peng’s allegations, adding that he “hasn’t heard of the matter.” The country, 13 days after Peng’s post, has yet to acknowledge it.

November 14: WTA CEO calls for an investigation into the situation

Steve Simon, executive director of the WTA, demanded a “full, fair and transparent” investigation on Peng’s allegations in a statement. At the time, no one had seen or heard from Peng for 12 days, causing the hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai to go viral on social media.

“It is clear that she has shown great courage in public,” Simon told the New York Times. “Now we want to make sure we’re moving towards a place where a full and transparent investigation is conducted. Anything else, I think, is an insult to not just the bridges. our defender that with all women.”

Simon threatened to withdraw WTA business from China if the country did not properly investigate Peng’s allegations. China is currently hosting 11 WTA tournaments and finals in Shenzhen.

While Simon could not directly confirm Peng’s whereabouts or condition, he told the Times that several sources – including the China Tennis Association – told him she was “safe and not physically threatened.” Simon “understood” that she was in Beijing.

November 2: Peng Shuai makes sexual assault allegations against Zhang

In a 1,600-word post on Weibo, Peng accused 75-year-old Zhang – a former leader in the Chinese Communist Party – of forced her to have sex about three years ago. Peng, 35, testified that the assault happened after Zhang invited her to play tennis with him and his wife at their home, but she admitted she had no proof.

“I was terrified that afternoon,” wrote Peng, who said a guard was standing guard outside the door when the assault happened. “I never agreed, cried the whole time.”

Peng said she and Zhang knew each other when he was the party boss in Tianjin from 2007-2012 and that Zhang forced her to have sex after leaving the post of vice premier in 2017.

“I know that for someone of your caliber, Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli, you have said you are not afraid,” Peng wrote. “But whether it’s like throwing an egg on a rock, or if I’m like a moth caught in a fire, inviting self-destruction, I’ll tell you the truth.”

The post was deleted within 30 minutes, and Chinese censors blocked search terms like Peng’s name. Peng Shuai explains the situation: China excuses ignorance as WTA sounds out about tennis star’s disappearance


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