World

Peng Shuai ‘reconfirms’ she is safe and well in second call with IOC, says Olympic organization



One of China’s most recognizable sports activities stars, Peng publicly accused a former prime Communist Party official, Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, of coercing her into intercourse at his residence three years in the past in a since-deleted social media put up dated November 2.

Peng was instantly muffled by blanket censorship and disappeared from public view for greater than two weeks, prompting the ladies’s tennis world to demand solutions as to her whereabouts — as well as a full investigation into her allegations in opposition to Zhang.

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Amid rising world outcry, people working for Chinese government-controlled media and the state sports activities system launched a lot of “proof of life” pictures and movies of Peng.

On November 21, the IOC stated in an announcement that its president, Thomas Bach, held a 30-minute video call with three-time Olympian Peng, alongside a Chinese sports activities official and a further IOC consultant, and stated that in the course of the call, Peng seemed to be “doing fine” and was “relaxed,” saying she “would like to have her privacy respected.” The IOC didn’t clarify how the video call with Peng was organized and has not made the video publicly obtainable.

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Peng Shuai returning a shot against Daria Kasatkina during her singles match at the 2019 China Open.

Summarizing the second call, the IOC stated that it had provided the tennis star “wide-ranging support,” and pledged to remain in common contact with her, including that it had “already agreed on a personal meeting in January.”

The IOC additionally advised CNN that it wasn’t offering any visible asset of Wednesday’s second video call amid rising skepticism about how freely Peng has been allowed to speak, as well as concern for her security.

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) on Wednesday introduced an instantaneous suspension of all tournaments in China, together with Hong Kong, in response to Beijing’s silencing of the sexual assault allegations.

Later on Thursday, a WTA spokeswoman advised CNN it had obtained a brand new e-mail from Peng.

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According to the WTA, this is the third e-mail its had from Peng.

Citing a “confirmed source” in a Twitter put up Thursday, Chinese state media-affiliated reporter Shen Shiwei stated that the e-mail from Shuai “expressed her shock for WTA’s unfair decision to suspend all tournaments in China.”

Reacting to this newest e-mail, a WTA spokeswoman stated that the organization stands by its determination to droop tournaments in China.

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In an announcement launched on Thursday, ATP Tour chairman Andrea Gaudenzi stated the Peng state of affairs “continues to raise serious concerns.”

“The state of affairs involving Peng Shuai continues to lift severe issues inside and past our sport. The response to these issues has up to now fallen quick. We once more urge for a line of open direct communication between the participant and the WTA in order to ascertain a clearer image of her state of affairs.

“We know that sport can have a constructive affect on society and typically consider that having a world presence provides us the perfect probability of making alternative and making an influence.

“We will continue to consult with our members and monitor any developments as this issue evolves.”

China hits again at boycott

WTA chairman and CEO Steve Simon stated that the choice was based mostly on the “unacceptable” response of Chinese officers, together with dashing to censor Peng’s allegations and ignoring requires a full and clear investigation.

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“In good conscience, I don’t see how I can ask our athletes to compete there when Peng Shuai is not allowed to communicate freely and has seemingly been pressured to contradict her allegation of sexual assault,” Simon stated.

“Given the current state of affairs, I am also greatly concerned about the risks that all of our players and staff could face if we were to hold events in China in 2022.”

Former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli (seen here in 2012) was publicly accused by Peng of coercing her into sex at his home three years ago.

Beijing fired again on the determination, with China’s state-run outlet, the Global Times, accusing the WTA of “setting a bad example for the entire sporting world,” in a extremely vital editorial printed Thursday.

The piece known as the WTA’s determination an “exaggerated show,” meant to behave as “a lever of Western public opinion against China’s political system.”

China “firmly opposes any act that politicizes sports,” China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Wang Wenbin added throughout a briefing Thursday.

'Unanimous conclusion' that Peng Shuai is 'fine,' says IOC member Dick Pound

“Unfortunately, the leadership in China has not addressed this very serious issue in any credible way. While we now know where Peng is, I have serious doubts that she is free, safe, and not subject to censorship, coercion, and intimidation,” Simon stated.

Longtime IOC member Dick Pound stated the “unanimous conclusion” by these on the November 21 call with Peng is that she is fantastic, including he has been “puzzled” by the worldwide response to the call.

Chinese authorities haven’t acknowledged Peng’s allegations in opposition to Zhang — who has light from public life since his retirement in 2018 — and there is no indication an investigation is underway. It stays unclear if Peng has reported her allegations to the police.

Players sign assist for WTA

Men’s world No. 1 Novak Djokovic stated he supported the WTA’s boycott.

“I support fully WTA’s stance because we don’t have enough information about Shuai Peng and her well-being,” Djokovic stated in Madrid following a Davis Cup tie. “It’s life of a tennis player that is in question here, so we, as the tennis community, need to stand together.”

Tennis nice Martina Navratilova known as the WTA’s transfer a “brave stance,” and requested “what say you, @IOC ?!? #IOC – so far I can barely hear you!!! #WhereisPengShuai.”
Meanwhile, WTA founder and 12 grand slam singles winner Billie Jean King stated the organization was on “the right side of history in supporting our players,” including that she applauded Simon and the WTA for “taking a strong stand on defending human rights in China & around the world.”

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

Before retiring as vice premier, Zhang was the top of a Chinese authorities working group for the Beijing Games. In the position, he inspected venues, visited athletes, unveiled official emblems and held conferences to coordinate preparation work.

Zhang beforehand met with IOC President Bach on at the very least one event, with the 2 being photographed collectively shaking fingers in the Chinese capital in 2016.

CNN’s Aleks Klosk contributed reporting.




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