China’s foreign ministry says Peng Shuai case should not be politicized

Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry, declined to touch upon whether or not the Chinese authorities will launch an investigation into Peng’s sexual assault allegations towards former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli. He repeated earlier feedback made to reporters, saying Peng’s scenario “was not a diplomatic issue.”

“I believe everyone has also seen her attend some public events recently as well as the video call with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President (Thomas) Bach,” Zhao stated. When requested by a reporter whether or not the Peng case would negatively have an effect on China’s picture, Zhao stated: “I think some people should stop the malicious hype and not politicize this issue.”

His feedback echo these of a distinguished Chinese state-run newspaper editor Tuesday. “Some Western forces are coercing Peng Shuai and an institution, forcing them to help demonize China’s system,” Hu Xijin, editor of nationalist tabloid the Global Times, wrote on Twitter.

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Peng, a two-time Grand Slam doubles champion and considered one of China’s prime tennis gamers, publicly accused Zhang of coercing her into intercourse at his dwelling, in accordance with screenshots of a since-deleted social media put up dated November 2.

Her disappearance from public life for greater than two weeks following the accusation prompted an outpouring of worldwide concern, with the Women’s Tennis Association and the United Nations calling for an investigation into her allegations of sexual assault.

WTA chief Steve Simon threatened to drag out of China until Peng was accounted for and her allegations investigated.

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On Sunday, IOC President Bach held a video cellphone name with Peng, accompanied by Chinese sports activities official Li Lingwei and the chair of the Athletes’ Commission, Emma Terho.

The IOC did not present CNN entry to the video however stated in an announcement that Peng insisted she is “safe and well, living at her home in Beijing, but would like to have her privacy respected at this time.”

The name, which reportedly lasted half-hour, appeared to be Peng’s first recognized direct contact with officers exterior of China since making the allegations.

Amnesty International stated the IOC was “entering dangerous waters” with the video name.

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“They should be extremely careful not to participate in any whitewash of a possible violation of human rights,” Amnesty’s China researcher Alkan Akad stated.

Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai has finally appeared in public. But here's why the worries aren't going away

The WTA additionally renewed its demand for an investigation following the decision.

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“It was good to see Peng Shuai in recent videos, but they don’t alleviate or address the WTA’s concern about her well-being and ability to communicate without censorship or coercion,” the spokesperson advised CNN in an announcement.

“This video does not change our call for a full, fair and transparent investigation, without censorship, into her allegation of sexual assault, which is the issue that gave rise to our initial concern.”

Chinese authorities have not acknowledged Peng’s allegations towards Zhang, and there’s no indication an investigation is underway. It stays unclear if Peng has reported her allegations to the police.

Zhang has stored a low profile and light from public life since his retirement in 2018, and there’s no public info referring to his present whereabouts.

In China, senior celebration leaders akin to Zhang are usually past public reproach, even when retired. As vice premier, Zhang served on the Communist Party’s seven-member Polituro Standing Committee, the nation’s supreme management physique, alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping.

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CNN’s Beijing bureau contributed reporting.

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