Peng Shuai 'safe and well' according to IOC president after speaking on video call

Peng Shuai

The president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, has revealed he held a video call on Sunday with Chinese tennis star, Peng Shuai, who assured him she was “safe and well.”

Peng’s whereabouts have been unknown, since she accused former Chinese Vice Premier, Zhang Gaoli, of sexual assault earlier this month. This has led to growing concerns for her safety.

Chinese state-affiliated media posted photos and videos appearing to show Peng at a Beijing tennis tournament this weekend, but WTA chief executive, Steve Simon says this latest proof is “insufficient” evidence” of her safety.

Simon has written to the Chinese Ambassador to the United States, Qin Gang, imploring him to discuss the “urgent issue” with high-ranking Chinese government officials.

However, the IOC now claim Peng is safe after Bach spoke with the 35-year-old for 30 minutes. Simon was not included on the call.

ENTER GIVEAWAY

ENTER GIVEAWAY

A statement read: “At the beginning of the 30-minute call, Peng Shuai thanked the IOC for its concern about her well-being. She explained that she is safe and well, living at her home in Beijing, but would like to have her privacy respected at this time. That is why she prefers to spend her time with friends and family right now.

“Nevertheless, she will continue to be involved in tennis, the sport she loves so much.”

IOC Chair, Emma Terho, also stated: “I was relieved to see that Peng Shuai was doing fine, which was our main concern. She appeared to be relaxed. I offered her our support and to stay in touch at any time of her convenience, which she obviously appreciated.”

The IOC’s statement has attracted a lot of criticism, with many accusing Bach and the Committee of failing to acknowledge the serious allegations made by Peng.

Tennis journalist, Ben Rothenberg, described Bach as “pathetic and gutless” and stressed that the situation was not just about whether Peng could smile at a camera.

“This horses**t makes no mention of the whole reason for concern about Peng in the first place,” he said on Twitter. “She accused a Vice Premier of sexual assault then faced massive government censorship of her name in public+private messaging. It’s not about if she can smile near stuffed animals!

“Her physical whereabouts were hardly the whole concern of the #WhereIsPengShuai movement, and for the International Olympic Committee to pretend otherwise is predictably pathetic and gutless of Thomas Bach and his cronies desperate to smooth over wrinkles before Beijing 2022.”

Indeed, global rights groups and others have called for a boycott of the Winter Olympics, due to be held in Beijing in February, because of China’s human rights record.

US President Joe Biden said he is considering a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Games to protest China’s treatment of its Uighur Muslim minority.

It has therefore been suggested that the IOC is helping China ‘sportswash’ its human rights violations.

The Winter Olympics are scheduled to take place from February 4th to 20th, 2022.

Meanwhile, WTA Chief, Simon, is yet to respond to the IOC’s ‘proof’ that Peng is safe and well.

News Now - Sport News