The allegations regarding Peng are “bigger than business,” said the head of the WTA players’ organization. “Women must be respected and must not be censored,” demanded Simona on Thursday (local time) in a CCN interview. China is now an important location, especially for women’s tennis. In 2018, the season-end tournament for the eight best players of the year from 2019 to 2028 was awarded to the Chinese city of Shenzhen and the prize money doubled from 7 million US dollars to 14 million. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, however, it was not possible to play in China in the past two years.
Peng Shuai had published allegations of sexual assault by a top Chinese politician on the Weibo social network in early November. Since then, the 35-year-old has not been seen in public and is considered to have disappeared. China’s censorship is canceling any debate on the case. Searches for your name or #MeToo on the Chinese Internet are blocked.
An alleged email from Peng has raised significant doubts at the WTA and increased concerns. China’s state foreign television station CGTN published an email on Thursday night on Twitter that the tennis star himself wrote and is said to have sent to WTA boss Simon. The reports about her, “including allegations of sexual assault,” were “not true,” it said. She is fine.
About the whereabouts of Peng Shuai China’s Foreign Ministry did not want to comment. Inquiries should be directed to “relevant authorities”, said a spokesman. A reaction from China came from Hu Xijin, the editor of the Global Times, who is close to the communist party. As a person who is familiar with the Chinese system, he doesn’t think that because of the matter raised against Peng Shuai Hu Xijin, who is well connected in China, tweeted on Friday that any punitive measures suspected by foreign media had been taken.
Also on Friday, the United Nations and France asked China to provide information on the whereabouts of those who had disappeared Peng Shuai close. “It would be important to have proof of their whereabouts and well-being,” said spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Liz Throssell, in Geneva.
Throssell called for a “completely transparent” investigation into those of Peng allegations made. The French Foreign Ministry made a similar statement: The government was concerned about the lack of information about the tennis player’s situation. Paris also urged the Chinese authorities “to implement their commitments to combat violence against women”.
Around two and a half months before the opening of the Beijing Olympics is due to the case Peng fueled the human rights debate in China. The International Olympic Committee declined on Friday to comment on the case more explicitly: Experience shows that calm diplomacy is the best way to find a solution to such questions, it said in an email to the AP news agency.
On Twitter, the keyword “#WhereIsPengShuai” (“Where is Peng Shuai? ”) Started a search, which is supported by a number of current and former top professionals, including Japan’s Naomi Osaka and the former world number one Chris Evert from the USA. Superstar Serena Williams also joined in and demanded answers. “I am devastated and shocked when I heard about the news Peng Shuai heard. I hope it is safe and will be found as soon as possible, ”tweeted the 23-time Grand Slam tournament winner. “This needs to be investigated and we must not be silent. I send love to her and her family at this incredibly difficult time ”.
In the meantime, the ATP has also joined. The development is “extremely worrying” and: “This matter is bigger than tennis.” According to the organization, ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said: “Your safety is our immediate concern, and clarity in the situation is required.” He called for “verifiable, direct communication” with the player.