Blackburn says it's 'unsafe' for US athletes to go to Beijing Olympics: 'Disappear you'

Blackburn: ‘Unsafe for our athletes’ to go to Beijing Olympics following Chinese tennis player disappearing

Sen. Marsha Blackburn voices concern over US athletes visiting China for upcoming Olympics.

Republican Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn voiced concern that it will be “unsafe” for U.S. athletes to visit China for the upcoming Beijing Olympics after a Chinese tennis player disappeared following her allegations that a CCP senior leader sexually assaulted her. 

“The Chinese Communist Party has no value for life. If you’re not going to toe the line, then they’re going to disappear you. And this is why we think it is unsafe for our athletes to go to the Olympics in Beijing. This is something that seems to be happening so more regularly. So why would the US Olympic Committee send our athletes into this type of environment?” Blackburn said on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” with host Maria Bartiromo. 

Blackburn was referring to tennis star Peng Shuai, who drew international concern this month after she disappeared from the public eye. She had publicly accused Zhang Gaoli – who served as the senior Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China and was a member of the Chinese Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee – of forcing her to have sex despite refusals.

FILE – Peng Shuai of China returns a ball during the semifinal match against Shahar Peer of Israel, unseen, in the Guangzhou WTA Tour in Guangzhou in south China’s Guangdong province Saturday, Sept. 19, 2009. An email purportedly from Chinese professional tennis player Shuai that a Chinese state media outlet posted on Twitter has increased concerns about her safety as the sport’s biggest stars and others abroad call for information about her well-being and whereabouts since her accusation about two weeks ago that she was sexually assaulted by a former top government official.
(AP Photo, File)

Photos of the tennis star surfaced on Friday, with an employee of Chinese state television reporting the photos were on Peng’s WeChat account with the comment, “Happy Weekend.”

Video of the star also surfaced online, but the CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association released a statement this weekend saying the evidence is “insufficient” proof of her safety.  

“While it is positive to see her, it remains unclear if she is free and able to make decisions and take actions on her own, without coercion or external interference.  This video alone is insufficient.  As I have stated from the beginning, I remain concerned about Peng Shuai’s health and safety and that the allegation of sexual assault is being censored and swept under the rug,” Steve Simon wrote

FILE – Peng Shuai of China celebrates after winning the women’s singles match against Venus Williams of the United States in the China Open tennis tournament at the National Tennis Stadium in Beijing, Monday, Oct. 3, 2016. The disappearance of tennis star Peng Shuai in China following her accusation of sexual assault against a former top Communist Party official has shined a spotlight on similar cases involving political dissidents, entertainers, business leaders and others who have run afoul of the authorities. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

Blackburn also called on the Biden administration to take a tougher stance on China, saying the country does “not fear” the U.S. president. 

FILE – This combination image shows U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington, Nov. 6, 2021, and China’s President Xi Jinping in Brasília, Brazil, Nov. 13, 2019. The White House says President Joe Biden and China’s Xi Jinping will hold their much-anticipated virtual summit on Monday evening.  (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Eraldo Peres, File)
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Eraldo Peres, File)

“What we do know is the Chinese, who do not fear Joe Biden. They do not fear this administration. They are more aggressive now than they have ever been. U.S. tech firms and U.S. companies are beginning to exit China. We’ve recently had Yahoo and Fortnight, who have come out. We’ve got other companies that are looking for other places for critical supply chain manufacturing, because of the intellectual property abuse from China because of some of their trade policies.”

“They are not a competitor. They are an adversary. And this administration needs to realize this. They need to admit it. And Joe Biden needs to stop kowtowing to the communist Chinese,” Blackburn continued. 

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