WTA still “deeply concerned” over tennis star Peng Shuai

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WTA President Steve Simon contacted Peng Shuai through various communication channels. He sent her two emails, to which it was clear that his responses were influenced by others, ”she said.

Peng Shuai alleged that a powerful Chinese politician sexually assaulted her. PA

Paris, France: The president of the Women’s Tennis Association “remains deeply concerned” about Chinese star Peng Shuai following her sexual assault charges against a powerful politician, a spokeswoman said. AFP Saturday.

WTA President Steve Simon “contacted Peng Shuai through various communication channels. He sent her two emails, to which it was clear that his responses were influenced by others,” she said. .

“He remains deeply concerned that Peng is not immune to censorship or coercion and has decided not to re-engage via email until he is satisfied that his responses are the right ones. his own and not those of his censors. “

“The WTA remains concerned about its ability to communicate freely, openly and directly.”

Peng, 35, a doubles champion at Wimbledon and Roland Garros, was not seen for more than two weeks after her allegations that former Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli, now 70, was allegedly forced her to have sex for years. out of relationship.

Peng’s demands against Zhang were the first time China’s #MeToo movement has reached the top echelons of the ruling Communist Party.

On Sunday, official photos from a Beijing tennis tournament showed Peng among the participants, and she participated in a video call the same day with Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee.

Beijing will host the Winter Olympics in February.

The European Union, United Nations, United States and Britain have all called for evidence of Peng’s whereabouts and his well-being.

China’s Foreign Ministry said that “people should stop deliberately and maliciously hype” on the controversy surrounding Peng.

Last week, Chinese state media published what it said was a screenshot of an email from Peng which stated that the accusations made by the tennis star were “not true” and that “all is well” for her.

“Full and transparent investigation”

Peng appeared in a 30-minute video call with Bach, which has since been heavily criticized.

The IOC said in a statement that during the appeal, “Peng Shuai thanked the IOC for its concern for his well-being.”

“She explained that she was fine and that she was living at her home in Beijing, but that she would like her privacy to be respected for the time being,” he said.

But human rights groups and overseas sports authorities have continued to express concern about Peng and whether local authorities will act on his allegations.

Human Rights Watch criticized the IOC and asked it to explain how the video call with Peng was organized.

“The IOC has gone from silence about Beijing’s catastrophic human rights record to active collaboration with Chinese authorities to undermine freedom of expression and ignore allegations of sexual assault,” said Yaqiu Wang, senior researcher on China at Human Rights Watch.

The EU also expressed its concern to AFP on Wednesday.

“We have seen Peng Shuai’s alleged words and footage of her public appearance. However, the information regarding both the abuse allegations and the fact that she had not been seen for two weeks remains of great concern.” , said EU spokesperson Nabila Massrali. , said in a statement AFP.

“We are unable to comment on the allegations themselves, but we urge a full and transparent investigation,” she said.


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