- China’s Foreign Ministry maintained that it was unaware of the scandal surrounding tennis ace Peng Shuai.
- The 35-year-old former world number one in women’s doubles won Wimbledon and the French Open in 2013 and 2014.
On Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry maintained that it was unaware of the scandal surrounding tennis ace Peng Shuai, who went missing after accusing a former top official of sexual assault.
Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told reporters that the matter was “not a diplomatic question” and that he was “unaware of the situation.”
Since Peng made her claim more than two weeks ago, the ministry has continually denied knowledge of the matter.
The 35-year-old former world number one in women’s doubles won Wimbledon and the French Open in 2013 and 2014. She also competed in three Olympic Games, making her withdrawal all the more notable as Beijing prepares to host the Winter Games on Feb. 4.
Chinese officials should “give independent and verifiable proof of her location and that she is secure,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday.
Wendy Sherman, the US Deputy Secretary of State, tweeted: “We are alarmed by allegations that tennis player Peng Shuai is missing, and we join calls for the PRC to produce independent, verifiable verification of her location. Reports of sexual assault against women should be handled seriously and investigated everywhere.”
“An investigation with complete transparency into her accusation of sexual assault,” said Liz Throssell, a spokeswoman for the United Nations human rights office in Geneva, on Friday.
“And I believe that this should be the case in every claim of sexual assault. It is critical to establish accountability and justice for those who have been wronged, “she stated.
In an emailed statement, the International Olympic Committee declined to comment on Friday, saying: “Experience has shown that quiet diplomacy provides the best chance for finding a solution to such issues. This is why the IOC will refrain from making any additional statements at this time.”
Despite her numerous refusals, Peng was forced to have sex with Zhang Gaoli in his home three years ago, according to a lengthy social media post published on Nov. 2. Zang, 75, was a member of the ruling Communist Party’s all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee and a former vice-premier.
Although the post was swiftly removed from her verified account on Weibo, a popular Chinese social media platform, screenshots of the bombshell charge were widely circulated.
The validity of what a Chinese official media outlet said was an email intended for him this week. Peng said she was safe and that the assault allegation was incorrect, has been questioned by Steve Simon, the chairman and CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association. CGTN, the international arm of Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, tweeted it.
The Chinese government’s State Council Information Office did not respond to emails concerning Peng’s current condition or Simon’s suspicions about the email.
Source: CBC News
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