Friday 19th November 2021
WTA wants to pull off tournaments
UN pressures China over Peng’s disappearance
Tennis pro Peng Shuai has been missing since publicizing allegations of abuse against a former China vice premier. An email allegedly from her only adds to the concern. So much so that the United Nations interfered.
International pressure on China in connection with the missing tennis player Peng Shuai is growing. For the first time, the United Nations (UN) spoke up in this context. “It would be important to have evidence of their whereabouts and well-being. We would urge that there be an investigation with full transparency into their allegations of sexual assault,” said Liz Throssell, spokeswoman for the UN human rights office in Geneva.
Previously, Steve Simon, head of the WTA players’ organization, had not ruled out the possibility of withdrawing WTA tournaments from the Middle Kingdom due to the still unclear situation around Peng Shuai. “We are definitely ready to do so and we would sort out all the complications that come with it,” said the official in a CNN interview. It is estimated that the WTA could lose hundreds of millions of dollars in such a move. But Simon made it clear: “This is bigger than business. Women must be respected and not censored.”
Tennis stars in great concern
The concerns about the 35-year-old former world number one in doubles are great worldwide. Peng Shuai wrote on the Twitter-like medium Weibo earlier this month that he had been sexually abused by former Vice Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli. The entry in the social media was deleted, Peng has allegedly been gone for days.
On Wednesday, the Chinese media published an email that is said to have come from her. “I am neither missing nor am I not sure. I just rest at home, everything is fine,” it says. The authenticity of the message has not been clarified.
Prominent companions like Alexander Zverev expressed concern. “I hope it will be found soon,” said the Olympic champion at the ATP Finals in Turin: “We’re not talking about a tennis match here, we’re talking about a human life.” Naomi Osaka wrote on Twitter: “I am shocked by the current situation and I send her love and light.”
US tennis star Serena Williams was horrified. “I am devastated and shocked by the news about my colleague Peng Shuai. I hope she is safe and will be found as soon as possible,” wrote the 23-time Grand Slam winner on Twitter, demanding: “This must be done be examined and we must not be silent. “
The German Olympic Sports Association also responded: “You need clarity about your welfare and your current state,” wrote the DOSB in a four-line tweet. One follows “with concern the events surrounding the Olympian Peng Shuai”.