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#WhereIsPengShuai – sport stars join chorus of concern

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Concerns are growing for the safety and wellbeing of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, as the world wonders where she is

There are fresh fears over Peng’s wellbeing after an email supposedly written by her retracted allegations of sexual assault against a senior politician.

In the email, the 35-year-old star ­allegedly claims she is absolutely fine and is simply “resting at home” despite not being heard of or seen since November 2 when she used social media to accuse former Chinese vice-premier of sexual assault.

The head of the Women’s Tennis Association has issued a warning to China amid concerns for the welfare of Peng.

Serena Williams has joined a chorus of concern…. saying she is devastated and shocked and calls for an investigation because “we must not stay silent”

Other sports stars and fans are joining the search by tweeting under the hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai

https://twitter.com/juliagoerges/status/1461419180461277190

When did Peng disappear?

The head of the world body for women’s tennis says he’s even more worried about the welfare of Chinese player Peng Shuai after China’s state media published an email it says is from her.

The 35-year-old tennis star has not been seen in public since she alleged on social media that former Chinese vice premier Zhang Gaoli coerced her into sex, and that they later had an on-off consensual relationship.

On Wednesday, Chinese state-affiliated media outlet CGTN released on Twitter what it said was an email Peng had sent to the chairman of the Women’s Tennis Association, Steve Simon.

In the email, Peng says the allegation of assault was untrue.

But Simon has been quick to cast doubt on its validity.

In a written statement, he said: “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.”

The email which CGTN attributes to Peng says: “I’m not missing, nor am I unsafe. I’ve just been resting at home and everything is fine.”

China’s State Council Information Office and the Chinese Tennis Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Neither did a representative for Peng.

On Thursday (November 18), China’s Foreign Ministry was dismissive when asked about the email

“This is not a foreign affairs matter. And I am not aware of the relevant situation you mentioned.”

Peng was the first Chinese player to top the world rankings when she was doubles number one in 2014.

Zhang, who is 40 years her senior, was a vice premier between 2013 and 2018.

https://twitter.com/sweetbackhand/status/1461054358729199624

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Tennis tournaments in China scrapped amid concern for Peng Shuai

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Women’s Tennis Association has just announced that it will immediately suspend all tennis tournaments in China as concerns grow for the safety and wellbeing of Peng Shuai

All events in China and Hong Kong will be immediately suspended amid concern for Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai.

WTA chairman Steve Simon said the decision was made on Thursday after repeated attempts to contact the former world No.1 doubles player.

“When on November 2, 2021, Peng Shuai posted an allegation of sexual assault against a top Chinese government official, the Women’s Tennis Association recognised that Peng Shuai’s message had to be listened to and taken seriously,” Simon said on the WTA website.

“The players of the WTA, not to mention women around the world, deserve nothing less.

“From that moment forward, Peng Shuai demonstrated the importance of speaking out, particularly when it comes to sexual assault, and especially when powerful people are involved. As Peng said in her post, “Even if it is like an egg hitting a rock, or if I am like a moth drawn to the flame, inviting self-destruction, I will tell the truth about you.” She knew the dangers she would face, yet she went public anyway. I admire her strength and courage.

“Since then, Peng’s message has been removed from the internet and discussion of this serious issue has been censored in China.”

Simon said the decision was supported by the WTA Board of Directors and he was “concerned” for the safety of players and staff if WTA events were held in China.

”The WTA will do everything possible to protect its players. As we do so, I hope leaders around the world will continue to speak out so justice can be done for Peng, and all women, no matter the financial ramifications,” Simon said.

Boycott the olympics?

This follows Human Rights Watch accusing the International Olympic Committee of being complicit in China’s rights abuses, ahead of the 2022 Beijing Winter Games.

Peng disappeared for nearly three weeks after alleging on social media that China’s former Vice-Premier had sexually assaulted her.

Sophie Richardson is the China Director of the Human Rights Watch and says there is something bigger at play in the region.

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‘I’m lucky to be alive’: Tiger Woods speaks out after harrowing car accident

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Golfing legend Tigers Woods says he hopes to return to professional golf but has ruled out ever competing full-time

The 15-time major winner is recovering from a life-threatening car accident that left him fearing he would lose his leg. Woods addressed the media at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, where he is hosting for the week.

Tiger Woods’ future

Woods was involved in a single-car accident in California on February 23, leaving him wheel-chair bound and his future unknown.

He spent three weeks in the hospital, then three months in a hospital bed at home.

There are very few details surrounding the finer details of the incident other than that speed was a factor.

The police report revealed Woods had been traveling at almost twice the legal speed limit when he crashed. But he was later cleared of being impaired by drugs or alcohol.

He needed surgery on open fractures to his lower right leg and injuries to his foot and ankle and feared that his right leg might be amputated.

“I’m lucky to be alive but also still have the limb,”

“Those are two crucial things. I’m very grateful that someone upstairs was taking care of me,

that I’m able to not only be here but also to walk without a prosthesis.”

“I don’t foresee this leg ever being what it used to be,”

Tiger Woods, American Professional Golfer

THE DENVER POST

The Denver Post

After months of uncertainty and time away from the public eye, Woods has reassured fans he will return to professional golf, but not on a full-time basis.

He does not know when he will return to the PGA Tour but said he would love to compete in the British Open in July.

“For him to be back at the highest level of competing on the PGA Tour, is going to take a lot more work…”

“The gulf swing isn’t really the issue right now for him…

Him walking 72 holes; that’s going to be the problem for him moving forward.”

Todd Lewis, Anchor Golf Channel, NBC

A recent post to Twitter has gone viral with over 7 million views which shows Woods’ swinging the golf club, captioned “making progress.”

Hopes are high

There are doubts cast over Woods’ ability to bounce back, and clearly slowing down will mean a major career paradigm shift for the golfing legend.

Although his full-time schedule might be over, for now, there are no limits to what the sporting star can do, after all, comebacks have defined his career.

“He’s going to be 46 years of age… He has a lot of obstacles in front of him…

Many people have counted him out before and he’s obviously proved them wrong,

so there is optimism that he can come out and play at the highest level.”

Todd Lewis, Anchor Golf Channel, NBC

Lee Elder: A hero in society

The first African American golfer to play in the Masters Tournament, Lee Elder, has died at the age of 87 years of age. Elder broke down racial barriers both on and off the golf course.

He was a known inspiration of Tiger Woods and paved the way for other people of colour to follow in his sporting footsteps.

The PGA Tour announced Elder’s death, with no cause of death given. It was known he had been in poor health and wore an oxygen tube beneath his nose.

“You could easily say he was a pioneer and an inspiration,

not only for Tiger Woods but for many people to play the game of golf.”

Todd Lewis, Anchor Golf Channel, NBC

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Sport

Is China an “inappropriate government” to host Olympics?

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Human Rights Watch has accused the International Olympic Committee of being complicit in China’s rights abuses ahead of the 2022 Beijing Winter Games

@SophieHRW
China Director @hrw

This follows the IOC president’s call with Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai.

Peng disappeared for nearly three weeks after alleging on social media that China’s former Vice-Premier had sexually assaulted her, and since that time, nobody has been able to speak independently to her and all of her messages have been mediated through Chinese government run media, and or the International Olympic Committee.

Sophie Richardson is the Human Rights Watch China director and says there is something bigger at play here, while concerns grow about Peng’s wellbeing.

“I think will believe it when she is able to say that herself freely and directly. I mean, let’s recall that this is the government that says that everyone in the Uyghur region or Xinjiang western region of China is happy and fine, up to an including the millions of people who have been arbitrarily detained for months at a time,” Richardson told ticker NEWS.

“It’s the government that regularly refers to the Dalai Lama as a terrorist. So really to take only the Chinese government’s word for it, or a deeply vested body like the IOC is problematic.”

There have been repeated calls for the upcoming Olympic games to be boycotted.

Richardson says the statistics of sexual abuse in China are disturbing and it’s not just for famous athletes.

“One fear is that what happens to these allegations is what happens to a lot of allegations about sexual violence and harassment inside China, which is that they’re ignored,” she said.

“A recent government report suggested that one in every four women in China is subjected at some point in her life to domestic violence,

“Yet there are very few prosecutions of that there’s only a law about domestic violence until relatively recently. This is enormously problematic.”

Richardson says Peng’s story is going to persist through the games in February as one of the examples, not just the Chinese government’s brutality towards individuals, even famous people like star athletes, but also why it is “just an inappropriate government to host an Olympic Games. Absolutely.”

What is the Human Rights Watch doing to support?

Richardson says the organisation is certainly going to keep leaning on the IOC to reveal what it knows about the origins of that call and the circumstances.

“But we’ve also called on the top sponsors of the games, the companies that literally pay for the games, to do their own human rights due diligence to explain how their sponsorship doesn’t contribute to problems,” she said.

“We’ve called on governments to engage in a diplomatic boycott of the games, because the last thing that trainees officialdom needs right now is a greater imprimatur of legitimacy, particularly from democratic governments.”

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