We, members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), are deeply concerned for the safety and wellbeing of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai.
Peng has not been seen or heard in public since she alleged on social media that a former vice-premier of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Zhang Gaoli, had sexually assaulted her. The statement was posted on the 2nd of November and quickly censored by the Chinese authorities. A letter published today by Chinese state media, purportedly written by Peng to deny the allegations, has further added to global concern for her welfare.
The PRC government has a known history of practicing enforced disappearances and arbitrary detentions against those who dare to oppose its authoritarian rule, with torture, solitary confinement and other abuses known to be used against victims of political persecution. A report from Safeguard Defenders estimates that up to 55,000 individuals have been held under incommunicado detention in recent years through the PRC government’s Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location (RSDL) system.
The PRC government should immediately provide verifiable guarantees on Peng Shuai’s whereabouts, safety and freedoms, and ensure that her allegations can be heard fairly and properly without fear of retaliation.
As Beijing prepares to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, the disappearance of an international athlete raises grave concern for the safety and freedoms of athletes attending the Games, and a grim reminder of the repression faced by Chinese citizens everyday.
In light of this, we once again call on our governments to announce a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics. Any government officials attending the games risk conferring legitimacy on the PRC government’s heavy handed persecution of its critics at home and abroad.
Signatories (rolling and to be updated)
Michael Brand MdB (Germany)
Garnett Genuis MP (Canada)
Tom van der Lee MP (Netherlands)
Miriam Lexmann MEP (European Parliament)
Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP (United Kingdom)
Baroness (Helena) Kennedy (United Kingdom)
Senator Barry Ward (Ireland)
Elisabet Lann (Sweden)
Senator Pavel Fischer (Czechia)
Samuel Cogolati MP (Belgium)
Simon O’Connor MP (New Zealand)
Louisa Wall MP (New Zealand)
Senator Kimberley Kitching (Australia)
Reinhard Bütikofer MEP (European Parliament)
Senator Malcolm Byrne (Ireland)
Guri Melby MP (Norway)
Constance Le Grip MP (France)
Kristoffer Robin Haug MP (Norway)
Nicolas Walder MP (Switzerland)
Layla Moran MP (United Kingdom)
Wera Hobhouse MP (United Kingdom)
Sandro Gozi MEP (European Parliament)
Chris Bryant MP (United Kingdom)
Cassy O’Connor MP (Australia)
Senator Eric Abetz (Australia)
Viola von Cramon MEP (European Parliament)
Frédérique Dumas MP (France)
Henry Smith MP (United Kingdom)
Anna Fotyga MEP (European Parliament)
Representative Anthony Gonzalez (United States)
David Lega MEP (European Parliament)
Helena Langšádlová MP (Czechia)
Senator Marilou McPhedran (Canada)