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Peng Shuai US Open 2014

European Union demand “verifiable proof” from China that Peng Shuai is free and safe

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The European Union (EU) have requested China prove “the safety, well-being and whereabouts” of Peng Shuai after her sexual assault allegations and censorship.

The EU have become the latest organisation to add their voice to the calls for clarity over Peng Shuai’s well-being after she accused former Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli of coercing her into a sexual relationship.

Peng attracted global attention after her original social media post was deleted within 30 minutes and she was not seen nor heard from publicly for multiple weeks.

She only reappeared in mid-November when Chinese state-affiliated journalists started releasing images and videos of Peng engaging in various social activities. However, WTA CEO and chairman Steve Simon said this media footage did not satisfy his requests.

Chinese state media also released an email purportedly from Peng herself, but Simon also had doubts over the veracity of the email.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) have been the only organisation to establish direct contact with Peng, but have been slammed for the handling of their video interview.

Various human rights groups and former sportspeople have accused the IOC of becoming a “Chinese propaganda tool” and have labelled their video interview as a “media exercise and publicity stunt.”

A statement released by the European Union’s foreign service read “The EU joins growing international demands, including by sport professionals, for assurances that she is free and not under threat.”

“In this spirit, the EU requests the Chinese government to provide verifiable proof of Peng Shuai’s safety, well-being and whereabouts.

The EU also echoed the WTA’s requests for a thorough investigation into the allegations, saying “the EU urges the Chinese authorities to conduct a full, fair and transparent investigation into her allegations of sexual assault.”

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Peng Shuai US Open 2014
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