Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai’s video chat with IOC chief fails to allay his safety concerns

Hong Kong – Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai is raising his head again. After nearly 20 days of silence and global concern, he may have been detained. But photos shown to Peng over the weekend seem to have allayed his safety concerns, which began when he was accused of sexually assaulting one of the former top leaders of the Chinese Communist Party. Later they disappeared from the public eye.

According to CBS News correspondent Rami Innocentio, Peng’s first real contact with the outside world in about three weeks came in the form of a video call over the weekend with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach. During the 30-minute call, Peng assured Bach that he was “safe and sound,” according to the IOC.

IOC President Thomas Bach held a virtual talk with Chinese tennis player Peng in Lausanne.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach held a virtual conversation with Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai from Lausanne, Switzerland on November 21, 2021.

Greg Martin / IOC Handout by REUTERS

The IOC released only one photo from the video chat, showing Peng smiling, with a statement that he was at home in Beijing and wanted his privacy to be respected.

The revelations came after Peng’s apparently scripted and stage-managed video with his tennis coach was released over the weekend, with forceful references to the November 21 date, which was taken to Twitter by the editor of China’s Global Times tabloid. Posted on There is a close alliance with the ruling Communist Party. There were some videos of him waving at the China Open on Sunday morning and some pictures of Peng playing with a cat.

All the new photos appear to show Peng over the weekend, but he only added to the question of whether she was working under pressure.

Cruise to the reappearance of the pen


On November 2, the 35-year-old former Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion, who is also a three-time Olympian, publicly raped former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, a close ally of Chinese President Xi Jinping, for three years. Accused of First.

The four-paragraph note posted by Peng on the Chinese social media platform Weibo was immediately deleted. All references to his name were being censored online in China until Sunday.

An e-mail allegedly sent by Peng to the head of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) aired on Chinese state media took back everything. The author wrote: “The allegation of sexual assault is not true. I am not missing nor am I safe. I am still resting at home and everything is fine.”

WTA boss Steve Simon, to whom the letter was addressed, received little relief from the e-mail, saying it only “raised concerns about his safety and whereabouts.”

“I have a hard time believing that Peng Shuai actually wrote the e-mail we received or believe what is being attributed to him,” he said last week.

The White House is skeptical of the Chinese …


After Peng’s video chat with the IOC boss over the weekend, the head of the Olympic Body’s Athletes Commission, Emma Terhu, said in a statement that she was glad to see that Peng Shuai was recovering. Our main concern was. I offered him my support and offered to stay in touch at any time for his convenience, which he clearly appreciated.

But the WTA, which has called on the United States and the United Nations to jointly investigate Peng’s well-being and allegations of sexual harassment, indicated that Peng’s private video chat with the IOC raised concerns. Failed to remove. The organization reiterated its earlier call for a full, transparent investigation into both Peng’s circumstances and the allegations against him, “without censorship.”

Isaac Stonefish, a Chinese risk analyst and CBS News contributor, also expressed disbelief, and questioned the IOC’s willingness to participate as a third-hand information conveyor.

“It’s definitely very suspicious,” Stonefish told CBS News. [the] Alleged video chat with Peng, as they say, the Women’s Tennis Association, which has been very critical. ”

The Winter Olympics in Beijing are set to begin on February 4 in just a few months. The United States and other Western nations have already made it clear that they could formally boycott the Games by refusing to send senior officials to attend the opening ceremony.

Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai signs oversized tennis balls at the opening ceremony of the Fella Kids Junior Tennis Challenger final in Beijing.
Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai signs large tennis balls at the opening ceremony of the Fella Kids Junior Tennis Challenger final on November 21, 2021 in Beijing, China, in a screen grab obtained from a social media video.

Reuters via Twitter @QINGQINGPARIS

The WTA has threatened to withdraw from a major deal with China to hold its championship in the country by 2028. Simon, head of the WTA, said last week that the organization was ready to sacrifice the agreement with China – which he estimated at a total of about ً 1 billion. Value – If Peng’s condition was not fully verified.

At the very least, the world now has at least an answer to this question, which has been adopted on social media as a hashtag, “#WhereisPengShuai?”

It was unclear on Monday whether Beijing would launch an investigation into Peng’s sexual abuse allegations by a senior Communist Party member. This has become the most widely accused accusation ever made by China’s “MeToo” movement. But with Peng smiling and asking for secrecy on Chinese state media, no investigation was imminent.


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