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WTA: Chinese tennis player Peng’s call with Olympic chief is not enough

Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai’s video call with the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has not addressed or alleviated international concern about her well-being.

“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,” a WTA spokeswoman said in an e-mail on Monday.

“This video does not change our call for a full, fair and transparent investigation, without censorship, into her allegation of sexual assault,” the spokeswoman said.

The IOC said in a statement that Peng held a 30-minute call with its president, Thomas Bach, on Sunday.

During the call, Peng had told Bach that she was safe and well at home in Beijing, and wanted to have her privacy respected for now.

The WTA had previously threatened to pull tournaments out of China over the matter.

Tennis world concerned over whereabouts of China’s Peng Shuai

Not enough

On November 2, Peng posted on Chinese social media that Zhang had coerced her into sex and they later had an on-off consensual relationship. The post was deleted about half hour after it was posted.

Neither Zhang nor the Chinese government have commented on Peng’s allegations. 

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, when asked at a regular briefing on Monday about the concerns, said it was not a foreign ministry matter but noted that Peng had recently attended some public activities.

Peng was photographed at a dinner with friends on Saturday and a children’s tennis tournament in Beijing on Sunday, but the pictures have done little to quell concerns.

Global rights groups and others have called for a boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February over China’s human rights record.

Current and former tennis players, including Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams and Billie Jean King, have also joined the calls seeking to confirm she was safe, using the social media hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai?

Men’s singles world No.1 Novak Djokovic said it would be strange to hold tournaments in China unless the “horrific” situation was resolved.

Chinese tennis star Peng appears in new videos amid global outcry

International concern

The whereabouts of Peng, a former doubles world number one, became a matter of international concern nearly three weeks ago, after she alleged that China’s former Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli had sexually assaulted her.

Neither Zhang nor the Chinese government have commented on Peng’s allegations.

China’s State Council Information office did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent on Monday.

The United States and Britain have called for China to provide proof of Peng’s whereabouts and France’s foreign minister said on Sunday that Chinese authorities should let Peng speak publicly.

READ MORE: UN demands proof of missing Peng Shuai’s well-being, urges probe

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