The White House and United Nations called for an investigation into the sexual assault allegations and subsequent disappearance of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai earlier in November. The European Union joined them Tuesday.
Peng accused former Chinese Communist Party leader Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault on Nov. 2 and has been publicly spotted only twice since. In a statement, the EU requested "verifiable proof" of Peng's safety and a deeper investigation into the former world No. 1's sexual assault allegations.
"The EU joins growing international demands, including by sport professionals, for assurances that she is free and not under threat," the EU's statement read, according to the Associated Press. "In this spirit, the EU requests the Chinese government to provide verifiable proof of Peng Shuai's safety, well-being and whereabouts. The EU urges the Chinese authorities to conduct a full, fair and transparent investigation into her allegations of sexual assault.
"The EU strongly opposes the use of the practice of enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention...and calls upon China to comply with its human rights obligations under national and international law."
Peng -- who made her allegations in a since-deleted post to the Chinese social-media site Weibo -- went 18 days without any public appearances, but on Nov. 20 Chinese state media released a video of her allegedly dining out with friends and her coach in Beijing.
Latest instalment in the Peng Shuai saga is 2 creepy videos being heavily publicised by Chinese state media, incl. Global Times editor Hu Xijin. Peng can’t be heard talking, & they’ve clearly been made in response to the viral #WhereIsPengShuai campaign. pic.twitter.com/sV8EQxt7nD https://t.co/cwq3z4YpEz— Jack Hazlewood (@JackHHazlewood) November 20, 2021
A day later, the IOC announced it held a video conference with Peng and deemed her to be safe. IOC president Thomas Bach, Chinese sports official Li Lingwei and Chair of the Athletes' Commission Emma Terho were on the call, and they allegedly agreed to have dinner with Peng ahead of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Peng's limited return to the public eye isn't satisfying the EU, however.
"Her recent public reappearance does not ease concerns about her safety and freedom," an EU spokesperson said.
The EU's statement comes 11 days after the White House and UN each called for investigations into Peng's sexual assault allegations and whereabouts. Press secretary Jen Psaki said the White House was "deeply concerned" at the time.