Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai made a video call this Sunday (21) with the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and told him she is safe and well, the Committee said in a statement.
Photos and videos of Peng at a tournament in Beijing on Sunday had little effect in allaying international concerns after she went nearly three weeks without appearing in public after accusing the former Chinese vice premier of sexual abuse.
In a statement, the IOC said that at the start of her 30-minute call with President Thomas Bach, Peng thanked the IOC for its concern for her well-being.
“She explained that she is safe and well, living in her home in Beijing, but that she would like to have her privacy respected at this time,” the IOC statement said. “That’s why I prefer to spend more time with family and friends right now. Still, she will remain involved in tennis, the sport she loves so much.”
Concern over Peng comes as international human rights associations are calling for a boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February due to China’s human rights record.
On November 2, Peng posted on Chinese social media saying that former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli had sexually harassed her a few years ago. Neither Zhang nor the Chinese government commented on his accusation. Peng’s post was quickly deleted from social media and the subject was banned on the highly censored Chinese internet.
(By Brenda Goh, Sophie Yu, Yew Lun Tian, Gabriel Crossley, Ryan Woo, Sudipto Ganguly, and Karolos Grohmann)
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