UN and WTA comment

In the debate about the missing Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, indignation grows and the tone intensifies. Worldwide, the elucidation of the disappearance of the former Wimbledon and French Open winner in doubles is required. On Friday, the United Nations (UN) spoke for the first time 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 on Friday.

As a consequence, the organization in women’s tennis threatened with the complete withdrawal of the WTA tour from China, if the tour in Beijing does not shed light on the darkness. “We are definitely ready to end our activities, with all the consequences that entails,” said WTA boss Steve Simon in a CNN interview. The allegations regarding Peng Shuai are “bigger than business,” said the WTA boss on Thursday (local time).

Alleged mail from Shuai

In early November, Peng Shuai published allegations of sexual assault by a top Chinese politician on the Weibo social network. Since then, the 35-year-old has not been seen in public and is considered to have disappeared. China’s censorship is canceling any debate on the case. Searches for your name or #MeToo on the Chinese Internet are blocked

On Wednesday, the Chinese media published an email that is said to have come from her. “I am neither missed, nor am I not sure. I only rest at home, everything is fine, ”it says. On Friday evening, a journalist from the state TV broadcaster CGTN published pictures of the Chinese tennis star on his Twitter account.

He wrote that these were photos that Peng posted on her profile on the Chinese news service Wechat on the same day. CGTN journalist Shen Shiwei tweeted that a friend shared the photos and a screenshot of the post with the words “Have a nice weekend”. In the pictures, Peng was seen playing with a cat on a red carpet. In another photo, she was holding a panda figurine and smiling at the camera. When and under what circumstances the pictures were taken could not be clarified at first.

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 are not talking about a tennis match, we are talking about a human life.” US tennis star Serena Williams was appalled. “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 investigated and we must not be silent. “Naomi Osaka also wrote on Twitter: “I am shocked by the current situation and I send her love and light.”

Around two and a half months before the opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing, the debate on human rights in China will fuel. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) declined on Friday to comment on the case more explicitly: Experience shows that calm diplomacy is the best way to find a solution to such questions, it said in an email to the AP news agency. “Unfortunately, the IOC ducks as usual,” criticized SPD politician Dagmar Freitag in “TZ” and “Münchner Merkur”.

“Athletes Germany” take the IOC to duty

Should the WTA withdraw from China, that is to be welcomed, she said: “If it should come that way, it would be a good and correct step, because for the first time an association would take active responsibility and stand up for the values ​​that are being propagated” said the outgoing chairman of the Bundestag Sports Committee: “The case is incredibly difficult to judge from the outside, but anyone who cares about the values ​​of sport must undoubtedly be very concerned about Peng Shuai. And the case fits into the image of this country, which barracks, interns and, in the worst case, kills people. “

The “Athletes Germany” are making the IOC responsible for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing. “We see the IOC as responsible to meet its human rights due diligence and to work towards the Chinese government for Peng Shuai’s safety,” said the association. “Peng Shuai must be given the opportunity to speak up about the incident freely and without coercion,” it said.

The German Olympic Sports Confederation has also reacted to the case. “It needs clarity about their well-being and their current state,” wrote the DOSB in a four-line tweet. One follows “with concern the events surrounding the Olympian Peng Shuai”. The men’s tennis organization ATP wrote that the development in the Peng Shuai case was “extremely worrying” and: “This matter is bigger than tennis.” According to the organization, ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said: “Your safety is ours immediate concern and clarity of the situation is required. ”He called for“ verifiable, direct communication ”with the player.


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