European Union demands proof that Peng Shuai is safe and well

Peng Shuai on the court

In a statement released earlier on Tuesday, the European Union (EU) called for proof from China that former world No 1 doubles player Peng Shuai is safe.

After Peng made sexual assault allegations towards former Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli on the Chinese social media site Weibo earlier in November she wasn’t heard from until she reappeared over a week ago.

Emails have been released by the Chinese state media, which have been attributed to Peng, while she also shared a video call with the IOC President Thomas Bach on November 21 and made an appearance at a tennis tournament in Beijing on the same day.

However, EU doesn’t think this is sufficient enough.

“Her recent public reappearance does not ease concerns about her safety and freedom,” an EU spokesperson said.

“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.”

Peng’s post on Weibo was removed within minutes of it going live to her half a million followers on November 2 and she wasn’t heard from for three weeks. The tennis community, including the WTA, Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have called for an investigation.

The European governing body wants the 35-year-old Peng to assist an investigation into her sexual assault allegations and is calling on China to comply with human rights rules.

“The EU urges the Chinese authorities to conduct a fair, full and transparent investigation into her allegations of sexual assault,” they said in their statement.

“The 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.”