Wednesday, November 29, 2023

France warns China of diplomatic consequences over tennis star Peng Shuai’s safety concerns

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French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Sunday France will take diplomatic measures against China if tennis player Peng Shuai, who has disappeared from the public after accusing former Chinese vice-premier of sexual assault, does not speak out.

“I’m waiting for one thing only, for Madame Shuai to speak out. If the Chinese authorities want to clarify the situation, they need to let her speak, so that she says where she lives, what she does… If not, they will have to face diplomatic consequences,” Le Drian said on the RTL radio broadcast, as quoted by Sputnik.

Several countries, including the UK and the US, have demanded Beijing provide verifiable evidence of Peng’s safety and whereabouts. The global tennis community and other popular figures also joined the demands and called for a full and impartial probe into the allegations of sexual assault by the former vice-premier.

The tennis star has disappeared from the public eye after publishing on November 2 a statement on a Chinese social media platform, accusing the Chinese former vice-premier, 75-year-old Zhang Gaoli, of sexually assaulting her. The post was immediately deleted, Peng’s accounts were removed from the Chinese social networks and the athlete stopped communicating, sparking concerns for her safety.

On Sunday, Peng finally appeared in public for the first time in several weeks at the opening ceremony of a teenager tennis match final in Beijing.

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