Former doubles champion Peng Shuai has reportedly not been seen or heard from since she accused former vice premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault

Serena Williams has joined different high athletes and leaders in talking out about former doubles champion Peng Shuai, who’s reportedly lacking after accusing a Chinese official of sexual assault earlier this month.

Williams wrote on Twitter Thursday that she was “devastated and shocked” about Peng’s obvious disappearance and the allegations she made.

“I hope she is safe and found as soon as possible,” Williams wrote. “This must be investigated and we must not stay silent. Sending love to her and her family during this incredibly difficult time.”

As issues mount, on Friday the United Nations known as for an investigation into Peng’s allegations in opposition to former vice premier Zhang Gaoli and requested China for proof of the tennis participant’s whereabouts.

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,” Liz Throssell, a spokeswoman for U.N. rights chief Michelle Bachelet’s workplace, instructed CBS News.

“According to available information, Peng, a former world doubles number one, hasn’t been heard from publicly since she alleged on social media that she had been sexually assaulted,” Throssell continued. “We would stress that it’s important to know where she is and her state, know about her well-being. We think it would be important that there’s an investigation into her allegations.”

The White House voiced the same sentiment on Friday, additionally calling for “independent, verifiable proof” of Peng’s security, in keeping with The Washington Post.

“We support a woman’s ability to speak out and seek accountability, whether here or around the world,” press secretary Jen Psaki mentioned.

CREDIT: HARRY HOW/GETTY

In a since-deleted put up from Nov. 2 on her Weibo microblog, Peng alleged that Zhang coerced her into intercourse a number of years in the past and that she later agreed to a consensual affair with him.

Peng, 35, has not been seen in public or heard from straight since making the accusation, in keeping with a number of studies.

Williams is just not the primary athlete to voice issues about Peng’s security in gentle of her allegations. Naomi Osaka, Billie Jean King, and Chris Evert spoke out on social media earlier this week below the hashtag #The placeIsPengShuai.

“Hey everyone, not sure if you’ve been following the news but I was recently informed of a fellow tennis player that has gone missing shortly after revealing that she has been sexually abused,” Osaka wrote in an announcement on Twitter on Tuesday. “Censorship is never ok at any cost, I hope Peng Shuai and her family are safe and ok. I’m in shock of the current situation and I’m sending love and light her way.”

Evert, an 18-time Grand Slam champion, wrote on social media that Peng’s accusations “are very disturbing.”

“I’ve known Peng since she was 14; we should all be concerned; this is serious; where is she? Is she safe? Any information would be appreciated,” she continued.

Other gamers who’ve chimed in on social media embrace Simona Halep, Coco Gauff, Petra Kvitova, Julia Görges, Shelby Rogers, Nico Mahut, Rajeev Ram, and Novak Djokovic.

On Wednesday, Chinese state media broadcaster CGTN tweeted what it mentioned was an electronic mail from Peng despatched to Women’s Tennis Association chairman Steve Simon telling him she is secure and that the allegations made on her Weibo web page have been unfaithful.

CREDIT: PHIL WALTER/GETTY

Simon mentioned in an announcement this week that the alleged electronic mail “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 displayed incredible courage in describing an allegation of sexual assault against a former top official in the Chinese government,” he continued. “The WTA and the rest of the world need independent and verifiable proof that she is safe. I have repeatedly tried to reach her via numerous forms of communication, to no avail.”

Simon concluded, “Peng Shuai must be allowed to speak freely, without coercion or intimidation from any source. Her allegation of sexual assault must be respected, investigated with full transparency and without censorship. The voices of women need to be heard and respected, not censored nor dictated to.”

In an interview with CNN, Simon additionally expressed that the WTA was prepared to halt its enterprise with China over Peng’s welfare.

“We’re definitely willing to pull our business and deal with all the complications that come with it,” he mentioned.

China’s international ministry has continued to disclaim any data of Peng Shuai’s reported disappearance. According to the Associated Press, spokesman Zhao Lijian instructed reporters on Friday that the matter is “not a diplomatic question and I’m not aware of the situation.”

Zhao gave the same assertion to the Agence France-Presse on Monday and has declined to remark additional, each retailers reported.

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