US asks China to produce reliable verification of whereabouts of Chinese tennis star

New Delhi: According to the BBC, the United  States is "deeply concerned" about Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, who has gone missing since making sexual assault charges against a prominent Communist Party member.

According to the report, the White House encouraged China to "present independent, verifiable confirmation" of Peng's whereabouts and safety. Two weeks ago, the 35-year-old doubles Grand Slam champion accused China's ex-vice-premier of sexual abuse. The Women's Tennis Association has threatened to boycott Chinese tournaments.

Without assurance that Peng is secure, WTA Chairman Steve Simon told the BBC that no competitions will be held in China next year. The Chinese Tennis Association has assured the WTA that Peng is safe and in Beijing, while Simon claims there is no confirmation.

Separately, three images of Peng with the text "Happy Weekend" were shared on a WeChat account under her name on Friday. The legitimacy of the message on the Chinese instant messaging service, however, has been questioned, according to the BBC. Ms Peng's email was released by Chinese official media earlier this week, but Simon questioned its legitimacy.

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