The Chinese Foreign Ministry continues to claim they have no idea what happened to tennis star Peng Shuai … who suddenly vanished over 2 weeks ago after accusing a powerful Chinese official of sexual assault.
Zhao Lijian, ministry spokesperson, was asked about Shuai’s disappearance, telling media … the situation is “not a diplomatic question and I’m not aware of the situation.”
FYI, the Chinese Foreign Ministry deals in all things foreign policy for the country. The Foreign Minister is typically one of the most powerful posts in China.
Peng accused former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, who is in his 70s, of sexually assaulting her 3 years ago at his home in China.
Just minutes after going public with the allegation, the social media post was deleted. Peng has not been heard from since.
There’s been widespread concern for Peng’s safety … and some of the biggest tennis stars in the world have spoken out.
Serena Williams recently wrote … “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. This must be investigated and we must not stay silent. Sending love to her and her family during this incredibly difficult time. #whereispengshuai”
Current stars Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic also expressed fear over her well-being … as did legendary player Billie Jean King.
To make the story even more bizarre, Chinese state media released a statement, SUPPOSEDLY written by Peng, where the Wimbledon doubles champ retracts her previous statements on the sexual assault, adding, “I am not missing, nor am I unsafe.”
In the statement, Peng also claims … “I’ve just been resting at home and everything is fine.”
Bottom line, almost no one believes Peng wrote the statement.
To their credit, the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) has doubled down since the suspicious statement was released, calling on independent proof that the tennis player, one of the countries biggest athletic stars, is okay.
“The statement released today by Chinese state media concerning Peng Shuai only raises my concerns as to her safety and whereabouts,” Steve Simon, WTA Chairman and CEO said.
He continued … “I have a hard time believing that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email we received or believes what is being attributed to her.”
Even the United Nations Human Rights Office called for a transparent investigation into Peng’s disappearance.
“It would be important to have proof of her whereabouts and well-being and we would urge that there be an investigation with full transparency into her allegations of sexual assault,” a UN spokesperson told reporters in Switzerland.