The IOC Doesn't Ask
Since then, Peng's statement was scrubbed from social media, and she has gone quiet, er...has disappeared. Simply put, within the context of China's record of human rights abuse and silencing critics, it's not out of the realm to ponder government retaliation against Peng.
The WTA's chairman, Steve Simon, followed that tweet with a statement of legitimate concern and demand for accountability on Peng's well-being. Considering the investment the tour has in China - most notably a years -long agreement for the tour final - the tour's position is quite remarkable for its willingness, at least for now, to risk losing significant business.
As Kurt Streeter points out eloquently and passionately in an opinion for The New York Times, it also forces a look at the (non) response from the International Olympic Committee. Peng is a three-time Olympian, having competed from Beijing 2008 through Rio 2016, in both singles and doubles tennis. So, the IOC does - should- have a vested interest in her safety. At the minimum, in the wake of significant global attention, could the IOC not express an interest to speak to Peng?
Obviously, the IOC is in an awkward position - not only is China a significant player in the usual medal count, and an integral political member of the Olympic family, but also the host of the upcoming Winter Olympics in less than four months. These Games are already beset by controversy, with human rights concerns and diplomatic boycotts over China's appropriateness as a host overshadowing Games' preparations.
What's the IOC to do? Every four years (usually, especially), the IOC asks us, the public, to accept it and the Games as a symbol of unity, peace, camaraderie. Although China - the nation - is a member of its family, so is Peng Shuai, the athlete and individual. When the IOC fails to show regard for its own, how can it ask us to believe in #StrongerTogether? What does that mean?
While we wait, attention will continue to shift from 'where's Peng Shuai?' to 'what is the IOC saying about Peng Shuai?'. The Chinese government can be expected to continue to be non-responsive, despite even the United Nations chipping in. It might be that the IOC, with the weight of the upcoming Games, is the only constituency with the gravitas to make an impact.
It's worth a try.