19 November 2021

It’s been two weeks, where is she? White House fears over Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai

19 November 2021

The White House and the United Nations have joined demands to establish the whereabouts and welfare of missing Chinese player Peng Shuai.

Peng has not been seen since making allegations of sexual assault against a former vice-premier in China two weeks ago, creating concern for her safety and wellbeing.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters: “We are deeply concerned by reports that Peng Shuai appears to be missing after accusing a former PRC (Peoples Republic of China) senior official of sexual assaults.

The White House has joined calls for news of Chinese player Peng Shuai (Nigel French/PA) (PA Archive)

“We join in the calls for PRC authorities to provide independent and verifiable proof of her whereabouts and that she is safe.”

Liz Throssell, the spokesman for the UN Human Rights Office, echoed those concerns and called for an investigation “with full transparency” into Peng’s allegations.

Throssell told reporters: “(Peng) hasn’t been heard from publicly since she alleged on social media that she was sexually assaulted.

Peng Shuai is apparently missing after accusing a Chinese official of sexual assault (Andy Brownhill/AP) (AP)

“What we would say is that it would be important to have proof of her whereabouts and wellbeing, and we would urge that there be an investigation with full transparency into her allegations of sexual assault.”

Serena Williams joined the calls for an investigation on Thursday night, with the 23-time grand slam singles champion tweeting she was “devastated” to hear the news about Peng.

And on Friday, the Lawn Tennis Association offered its support to the women’s sport’s governing body, the WTA, which has been vociferous in its calls for the Chinese authorities to address the situation.

“This is a very concerning situation, and we have written to the WTA offering our assistance in their efforts to establish the safety and wellbeing of Peng Shuai,” an LTA statement read.

“We are also keen to support any further measures that the tours can introduce to improve the safety of all players.

“The immediate priority is to establish that Peng Shuai is safe and well and, furthermore, that she is able to speak freely and not subject to any form of censorship.”

Serena Williams has called for an investigation into Peng’s disappearance (Adam Davy/PA) (PA Wire)

The International Olympic Committee declined to comment on the matter, with Beijing set to host the Winter Olympics in February.

An IOC spokesperson said: “Experience shows that quiet diplomacy offers the best opportunity to find a solution for questions of such nature. This explains why the IOC will not comment any further at this stage.”

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