EU requests ‘verifiable proof’ Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai is safe

BRUSSELS (AP) – The European Union said on Tuesday it wanted China to release “verifiable evidence” that tennis player Peng Shuai is safe and to conduct a full and transparent investigation into her allegations of sexual assault.

Peng, a three-time Olympian and former leading doubles player, has disappeared from the public eye after accusing a former Communist Party official of sexual assault.

Peng has had only a few direct contacts with officials outside of China since she disappeared from public view earlier this month. She told Olympic officials on a Nov. 21 video call from Beijing that she was safe and healthy.

“His recent public reappearance does not allay concerns about his security and freedom,” an EU spokesperson said.

Peng made the online sexual assault allegation against former ruling Communist Party Standing Committee member Zhang Gaoli. The tennis player’s post was deleted within minutes and she ceased to appear in public.

See: Women’s tennis chief questions legitimacy of Chinese state media statement attributed to Peng Shuai

Also: Tennis players take on the Chinese Communist Party

“The EU joins growing international demands, including from sports professionals, for assurance that it is free and not threatened,” the EU said in a statement. “With this in mind, the EU calls on the Chinese government to provide verifiable proof of the safety, well-being and whereabouts of Peng Shuai. The EU urges the Chinese authorities to conduct a full, fair and transparent investigation into his allegations of sexual assault.

Peng joins a growing number of Chinese businessmen, activists and ordinary people who have disappeared from public view in recent years after criticizing party figures or as part of the crackdown on the corruption or campaigns for democracy and labor rights.

“The EU strongly opposes the use of the practice of enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention … and calls on China to comply with its human rights obligations under national and international law” , said the EU.

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