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


The European Union wants China to release โ€œverifiable proof” that tennis player Peng Shuai is safe and to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into her sexual assault allegations.

Peng, a three-time Olympian and former top-ranked doubles player, dropped out of public view after accusing a former Communist Party official of sexual assault.

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

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โ€œHer recent public reappearance does not ease concerns about her safety and freedom,” an EU spokesperson said.

Peng made the sexual assault allegation online against a former member of the Communist Partyโ€™s ruling Standing Committee, Zhang Gaoli. The tennis player’s post was removed within minutes, and she stopped appearing in public.

โ€œThe EU joins growing international demands, including by sport professionals, for assurances that she is free and not under threat,โ€ the EU said in a statement. โ€œIn this spirit, the EU requests the Chinese government to provide verifiable proof of Peng Shuaiโ€™s safety, well-being and whereabouts. The EU urges the Chinese authorities to conduct a full, fair and transparent investigation into her allegations of sexual assault.”

Peng adds to a growing number of Chinese businesspeople, activists and ordinary people who have disappeared from public view in recent years after criticizing party figures or in crackdowns on corruption or pro-democracy and labor rights campaigns.

โ€œThe EU strongly opposes the use of the practice of enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention…and calls upon China to comply with its human rights obligations under national and international law,” the EU said.

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