White House wants "verifiable proof" of Peng Shuai's whereabouts
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the Biden administration is "deeply concerned" about tennis player Peng Shuai's disappearance and is calling on the Chinese government to provide "independent, verifiable proof" of her whereabouts.
Why it matters: Peng has not been seen since she accused China's former vice premier of sexual assault earlier this month. China's state-controlled media suppressed all reporting on the case.
The big picture: Peng wrote a lengthy social media post accusing a former vice premier of China's ruling party of sexual assault, per AP, but the post has since been removed.
- China's state-owned broadcaster CGTN released an email purportedly from Peng saying that she was safe. Many have called into question the email and believe it was not written by her, including the head of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA).
- CEO Steve Simon that the WTA was willing to pull business from China until Peng was accounted for.
- Many tennis athletes including Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams have also expressed concern for her safety.
What they're saying: "[Any] report of sexual assault should be investigated and support a woman's ability to speak out and take accountability," Psaki said at a press conference on Friday.
- "[We will] continue to stand up for the freedom of speech and we know the PRC has zero tolerance for criticism and a record of silencing those that speak out and we continue to condemn those practices," Psaki added.