“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,” Liz Throssell, the spokesperson of the UN Human Rights workplace, advised reporters in Geneva on Friday.

“According to available information, the former world doubles No. 1 hasn’t been heard from publicly since she alleged on social media that she was sexually assaulted. We would stress that it is important to know where she is and know her state, know about her wellbeing,” Throssell mentioned.

The head of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Steve Simon has mentioned he’s keen to lose tons of of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} price of enterprise in China if Peng just isn’t totally accounted for and her allegations are usually not correctly investigated.

“We’re definitely willing to pull our business and deal with all the complications that come with it,” Simon mentioned in an interview Thursday with NCS. “Because this is certainly, this is bigger than the business,” added Simon.

“Women need to be respected and not censored,” mentioned Simon.

The White House mentioned Friday it’s “deeply concerned”.

Jen Psaki, the White House Press Secretary, advised 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. We join in the calls for PRC authorities to provide independent and verifiable proof of her whereabouts and that she is safe.”

Peng’s put up on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform, was deleted inside half-hour of publication, with Chinese censors shifting swiftly to wipe out any point out of the accusation on-line. Her Weibo account, which has greater than half one million followers, remains to be blocked from searchers on the platform.

The forceful intervention from Simon places the tennis chief on a probable collision course with authorities in China, which have to date refused to publicly acknowledge Peng’s allegations. Perceived criticisms of China, which can be on account of host the 2022 Winter Olympics in February, have beforehand resulted in vital public and political backlash, in addition to loss of entry.

‘Staged assertion of some sort’

Simon mentioned the WTA had been in dialog with counterparts on the Chinese Tennis Association, who had offered assurances Peng was unhurt in Beijing. However, makes an attempt to succeed in Peng immediately had proved unsuccessful.

“We have reached out to her on every phone number and email address and other forms of contact,” he mentioned. “There’s so many digital approaches to contact people these days that we have, and to date we still have not been able to get a response.”

Earlier this week, Chinese state media released an email, purportedly despatched to Simon from Peng, strolling again her allegations and claiming she is ok.

The alleged electronic mail was launched solely on English-language platforms and home Chinese media haven’t reported on its contents, regardless of Peng being a family title in China.

When requested in regards to the electronic mail, Simon questioned its veracity, describing it as a “staged statement of some type,” noting he had but to obtain a follow-up reply, regardless of responding instantly.

“Whether she was coerced into writing it, someone wrote it for her, we don’t know,” mentioned Simon. “But at this point I don’t think there’s any validity in it and we won’t be comfortable until we have a chance to speak with her,” he added.

Later on Friday, CGTN journalist Shen Shiwei tweeted three photographs he claimed Peng had posted on WeChat together with the message “happy weekend.”

Shen mentioned the photographs have been shared by one of Peng’s mates. NCS couldn’t independently confirm when the photographs have been taken, whether or not Peng posted the photographs herself, or whether or not they have been posted in any respect.

In a Twitter put up on Saturday, Hu Xijin, editor of Chinese state-run tabloid the Global Times, republished the photographs of Peng amid concerted efforts by government-controlled media to ease the intensifying issues in regards to the tennis star’s whereabouts and welfare.

“I confirmed through my own sources today that these photos are indeed Peng Shuai’s current state. In the past few days, she stayed in her own home freely and she didn’t want to be disturbed,” Hu tweeted. “She will show up in public and participate in some activities soon.”

Chinese state media Twitter accounts have been more and more posting anonymously sourced details about the tennis star, ostensibly aimed toward quelling the controversy with out even acknowledging her declare towards Zhang.

All media organizations in China are strictly managed by the nation’s propaganda authorities. Their tweets about Peng are usually not reported inside China, which has lengthy banned Twitter and different worldwide social media platforms.

Tennis’ reputation in China has grown quickly over the previous few a long time, with a number of Chinese gamers breaking into the worldwide rankings. The ladies’s sport, particularly, is an enormous market, thanks partially to the success of Chinese tennis star Li Na, who in 2011 grew to become Asia’s first grand slam singles tennis champion when she gained the French Open, adopted by a second main title on the 2014 Australian Open.

In latest years, the WTA has made an enormous push into China. In 2019, the WTA Finals relocated from Singapore to the southern Chinese metropolis of Shenzhen, coming into right into a prolonged ten-year deal.

In an interview with the New York Times from 2018, Simon described the association with authorities in Shenzhen, which reportedly consists of the development of a brand new multimillion greenback tennis stadium, as a “huge opportunity” for ladies’s tennis in China.

“When you factor in the commitment to prize money and the commitments to the WTA, and you factor in the stadium build and real-estate elements, it’s over a $1 billion dollar commitment they have made to the WTA Finals and the WTA,” Simon was quoted as saying.

Chinese tennis star accuses former top Communist Party leader of sexual assault, triggering blanket censorship
On Thursday, Serena Williams joined a growing number of worldwide tennis gamers to voice concern over Peng’s whereabouts.
“I am devastated and shocked to hear about the news of my peer, Peng Shuai. I hope she is safe and found as soon as possible,” Williams wrote on Twitter. “This must be investigated and we must not stay silent.”

Tennis famous person Naomi Osaka on Tuesday mentioned she was “in shock of the current situation.”

“Censorship is never OK at any cost, I hope Peng Shuai and her family are safe and OK,” she wrote as half of a press release on Twitter alongside the hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai.
The controversy dangers impacting the forthcoming 2022 Winter Olympics, that are set to kick off in Beijing in lower than three months. Calls for a boycott have been rising in latest months, owing to issues over China’s alleged human rights abuses. On Thursday, US President Joe Biden confirmed he’s mulling a diplomatic boycott of the occasion.

The worldwide concern for Peng, who’s a three-time Olympian, having represented China on the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, London in 2012, and Beijing in 2008, may now strengthen these calls.

However, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has distanced itself from placing stress on Chinese authorities.

In a response to NCS, the IOC mentioned: “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.”

Human Rights Watch accused the IOC of being “silent on the Olympian’s disappearance.” In a press release, the worldwide rights group mentioned it’s “astonishing that the IOC would accept the government’s assurances, particularly at the expense of a female Olympian making grave allegations.”

Speaking at a press convention Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian mentioned Peng’s accusation just isn’t a diplomatic concern and declined to remark additional.