Chinese tennis star Peng Shui, who has disappeared from the public eye After she made a sexual assault allegation that raised safety concerns, held a video call with senior Olympic officials.
Ping met in a 30-minute video conference with IOC President Thomas Bach, or the International Olympic Committee, and two IOC officials to discuss her safety, The organization announced Sunday.
It is not clear when the call occurred. The statement of the International Olympic Committee coincided with the release of Pictures and video of Peng at a youth tournament in Beijing.
“She has made it clear that she is fine and in good health, and is living at her home in Beijing, but she wishes her privacy to be respected at this time,” the IOC said. This is the reason why she prefers to spend her time with friends and family at the moment.
Emma Terhu, president of the International Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission, said Peng appeared to be “fine” during the call.
“She seemed relieved,” Terhu said. “She offered her our support and staying in touch whenever it suits her, which she obviously appreciates.”
Tennis stars around the world have expressed concerns about Peng over the past week, circulating the hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai across social media. They feared for her safety after she claimed it Zhang Gaoli, a former deputy prime minister in his 70s, sexually assaulted her During an uninterrupted relationship while in office.
Bing made the accusation on November 2 in a post on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform similar to Twitter. It was quickly deleted, and the discussion on social media appeared to have been pulled by the censors.
Zhang was once one of the most powerful officials in China under President Xi Jinping. He retired in 2018 and was not available to comment on the matter.
The post was not seen by NBC News before it was deleted from Peng’s account, which has more than half a million followers. It was not clear whether it had deleted the post or whether it had been removed by Chinese censors.
Last week, Chinese state television released an English-language statement attributed to Peng retracting her accusation against Zhang.
A little bit of the The biggest names in tennis have raised the alarm After they pointed out that Peng has not appeared in public since, including Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic.
Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a news briefing Friday that the White House is “deeply concerned by reports that Peng Shuai is missing.” A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman denied his knowledge of the outcry on Friday.
Steve Simon, president of the Women’s Tennis Association, said last week he had received an email purportedly from Bing saying she was at home resting, not missing. But Simon questioned the authenticity of the email, saying he had “repeatedly tried to reach it via various forms of contact, but to no avail”.
“I find it hard to believe that Bing Shuai actually wrote the email we received or believe what is attributed to her,” Simon said, adding that the world needed “independent, verifiable evidence that it was safe.”
Simon said in a statement after the statement was released that the WTA’s relationship with China is “at a crossroads.”
Simon said, “While seeing her is positive, it remains unclear whether she is free and able to make decisions and take action on her own, without coercion or outside interference. This video alone is not enough.”
One of the biggest tennis stars in China in recent years, Peng is the former world number one in doubles and won the doubles titles at Wimbledon and the French Open in 2013 and 2014.
Her situation highlights a growing issue for sports organizations trying to balance China’s vast business opportunities with concerns about Beijing’s widely criticized record on human rights and censorship.
Simon said The New York Times last week He would consider boycotting China by the WTA unless he saw “appropriate results” in this case.
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