Peng Shuai held a 30-minute video call with the boss of the Olympics, but tennis bosses remain unconvinced she’s actually safe and well

Peng Shuai held a 30-minute video call with the boss of the Olympics, but tennis bosses remain unconvinced she’s actually safe and well..  The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has said a video call between Peng Shuai and the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) does not relieve its concerns for her safety.

Peng Shuai held a 30-minute video call with the boss of the Olympics, but tennis bosses remain unconvinced she's actually safe and well
Peng Shuai held a 30-minute video call with the boss of the Olympics, but tennis bosses remain unconvinced she’s actually safe and well—-

Peng went missing earlier this month after making sexual abuse allegations against a former high ranking Chinese official. Making the claims on Chinese social network Weibo, Peng said that former Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli had forced her into having sex with him. The claims were later deleted from the platform, after which Peng went dark.

Days after Western media outlets began reporting on Peng going missing, an email purporting to be from her was sent to WTA boss Steve Simon and published by Chinese state media. The email said that Peng was safe, well, and “not missing.”

However, doubts remained, with Simon saying that it had only served to increase his concerns for her safety.

Over the weekend, however, images of Peng began to surface on Chinese state media outlets. She was pictured out to dinner with friends on Saturday, and was also photographed at a children’s tennis tournament in Beijing on Sunday.

The images were not released by Peng herself, leaving some to remain concerned for her safety.

Later on Sunday, she was shown taking part in a video call with IOC president Thomas Bach, which apparently lasted for 30 minutes.

According to an IOC statement, Shuai told Bach that she’s safe and living at 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,” the IOC statement said. “Nevertheless, she will continue to be involved in tennis, the sport she loves so much.”

Despite the IOC’s assertions about Peng’s safety, the WTA said they do not remove concerns for her wellbeing.

While it is positive to see her, it remains unclear if she is free and able to make decisions and take actions on her own, without coercion or external interference,” a WTA statement attributed to Simon said.

“This video alone is insufficient. As I have stated from the beginning, I remain concerned about Peng Shuai’s health and safety and that the allegation of sexual assault is being censored and swept under the rug.

“I have been clear about what needs to happen and our relationship with China is at a crossroads.”

Peng’s disappearance had been condemned last week by many of the biggest names in world tennis. Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, and Naomi Osaka all spoke out on the issue, while dozens of tennis pros shared the hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai.

 

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