After WTA, US Rights Group Questions Chinese Media Claiming Peng Shuai’s SafetyComments Off on After WTA, US Rights Group Questions Chinese Media Claiming Peng Shuai’s Safety
By Rohit Ranjan
Originally published by Republic World on 19 November, 2021
Peng Shuai had gone incommunicado after accusing a Communist Party leader of sexual misconduct. Chinese media recently reported her safety, citing an email.
The Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), a US-based human rights group, raised questions on the authenticity of Chinese media reports claiming that tennis player Peng Shuai, who went incommunicado after accusing a senior Chinese Communist Party leader of sexual misconduct, was safe. The CHRD‘s concerns follow those of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), which also questioned the authenticity of the email cited by Chinese media.
WTA chief Steve Simon had issued a statement expressing concerns after a report by Chinese state-owned CGTN shared an email, reportedly written by Peng Shuai, claiming she is safe.
‘I have a hard time believing that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email’: WTA chief
The Chinese tennis star has been the talk of the tennis world after she levelled sexual abuse allegations against Zhang Gaoli, the former vice-premier of the Communist Party. Soon after her accusations, Peng Shuai was not heard from until CGTN posted the reported email that stated, “I’m not missing, nor am I unsafe, I’ve been resting at home and everything is fine.”
Reacting to it, Simon said in a statement:
“The statement released today by Chinese state media concerning Peng Shuai only raises my concerns as to her safety and whereabouts. I have a hard time believing that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email we received or believes what is being attributed to her.”
‘Peng Shuai’s remark issued through state media should not be taken at face value’
CHRD research and advocacy coordinator William Nee said that Peng Shuai’s current remark, issued through state media should not be taken at face value. He alleged that the Chinese government has a lengthy history of unjustly detaining people involved in contentious cases, limiting their capacity to talk freely, and forcing them to make forced statements, Radio Free Asia reported. Nee also noted that until Peng Shuai is released, the Chinese government should bear the burden of proof.
The CHRD coordinator encouraged the WTA, the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), and tennis stars such as Naomi Osaka and Chris Evert to continue questioning Peng’s whereabouts. In a tweet on November 16, Osaka had said that she hopes Peng Shuai and her family are safe.
(With inputs from ANI, Image: AP)