The EU wants China to provide “verifiable evidence” of the whereabouts of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai and her condition, JydskeVestkysten writes citing news agency AFP.
“We call for a full and transparent investigation,” a spokesman for the EU Foreign Service said.
The spokesperson refers to the accusations made by Peng Shuai against one of the country’s formerly powerful politicians about sexual assault. The UN, the US, and France have made simpler demands prior.
Peng Shuai, who has won Wimbledon and the French Open in doubles, was not seen for more than two weeks after she on 2 November made the accusations against former Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli on social media Weibo. According to 35-year-old Peng Shuai, Zhang Gaoli should have forced her into sex in a relationship that stretched over several years.
On Tuesday, Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, asked for what he called the “malicious hypotheses” to be stopped.
“I think some people should stop deliberately coming up with malicious hypotheses and politicizing this issue,” Zhao Lijian said. According to the spokesman, the case is not diplomatic.
“I think you’re all seen that she’s recently attended some public events and had a video call with IOC President Thomas Bach,” he said.
But the images of Peng Shuai and the call with the IOC do not provide peace of mind for the European Union. “We have seen Peng Shuai’s alleged remarks and photos from her participation in public events. But the reports regarding both the allegations of sexual assault and the fact that she has not been seen for two weeks remain very worrying,” EU spokeswoman Nabila Massrali said in a statement.
The organization Global Athlete, an association of professional athletes, is also not convinced that Peng Shai is well and safe. “The IOC completely ignored the accusations of sexualized violence and abuse against athletes,” Global Athlete wrote on Monday.
“We are relieved that Peng Shuai is alive, but the IOC’s confirmation of the call with the tennis player does not guarantee that she is safe or well. The IOC’s press release is a damaging attempt to satisfy both concerned athletes and the Chinese authorities, the organization said”.