White House calls for investigation into missing Chinese tennis star's sexual assault claims

The Biden administration is calling for an investigation into missing tennis star Peng Shuai, who disappeared after publishing a post alleging that a former Chinese Communist Party official sexually assaulted her.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiBiden: A good coach knows when to change up the team Virginia's Youngkin gets the DeSantis treatment from media On student loans, Biden doesn't have an answer yet MORE said that "we are deeply concerned by reports that Peng Shuai appears to be missing" and called for the People's Republic of China (PRC) to provide "independent and verifiable proof of her whereabouts."

"I want to be clear where the United States stands," Psaki said. "Any report of sexual assault should be investigated, and we support a woman’s ability to speak out and seek accountability, whether here or around the world."

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Shuai published her allegations on Nov. 2, alleging former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli had coerced her into having sex with him and emotionally abused her in a relationship. The post has since been deleted and Shuai went missing shortly afterward, leading to the tennis world questioning where she is and calling for an investigation into her disappearance.

The Women's Tennis Association on Thursday threatened to pull business out of China if Shuai's whereabouts are not revealed.

Psaki said during the Friday press conference that the U.S. would "continue to stand up for the freedom of speech" as the administration pushes for answers to Shuai's disappearance.

"We know the PRC has zero tolerance for criticism and a record of silencing those that speak out, and we continue to condemn those practices," she added.