Chinese language tennis star Peng Shuai’s video name with IOC attracts criticism, raises questions – Nationwide |

2021-11-23 03:10:51

A video name between the pinnacle of the Worldwide Olympic Committee and Chinese language tennis participant Peng Shuai, whose practically three-week disappearance from public view sparked an outcry, was meant to reassure the world that she was secure – however as an alternative has raised extra questions.

Concern grew within the final week for the previous No. 1-ranked doubles participant _ who hadn’t been seen since accusing a senior Chinese language official of sexual assault on Nov. 2. Tennis stars and followers alike demanded to know #WhereIsPengShuai, and the pinnacle of the Ladies’s Tennis Affiliation threatened to tug profitable occasions from China.

Learn extra:
Lacking Chinese language tennis star Peng Shuai reappears in public, speaks with IOC chief

On Sunday, the IOC mentioned Peng spoke to its president, Thomas Bach, and different officers in a 30-minute video name from Beijing. In accordance with the group’s assertion, she reassured them that she was effectively and thanked them for his or her concern – whereas asking for privateness.

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The IOC posted a photograph that exhibits Bach dealing with a display on which Peng seems however didn’t launch video of the decision. On the identical day, China Open posted movies and pictures of her look at a youth tennis event in Beijing that morning.

The IOC’s brief assertion, which provided few particulars and no follow-up on her allegations, appears unlikely to shut the door on Peng’s case _ and it’s resulting in rising criticism of the sports activities physique, which was already dealing with requires a boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, which open on Feb. 4.

Even after the assertion was printed Sunday, the WTA repeated what chairman and CEO Steve Simon has been saying for greater than every week, calling for a full, honest and clear investigation “with out censorship.”

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The IOC was already below stress for pushing forward with the Video games amid allegations that China has dedicated human rights violations in opposition to Uyghur Muslims, Tibetans, and different minorities. China denies the accusations. “We’re firmly against any phrases and deeds that politicize sports activities in violation of the Olympic spirit,” International Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian mentioned Monday, when requested a few attainable boycott.

Now, some critics say the IOC’s dealing with of the decision with Peng makes it an lively accomplice in delivering Beijing’s message – whereas not offering Peng with an open discussion board to debate her allegations.

Yaqiu Wang, a spokeswoman for Human Rights Watch, tweeted that the IOC is “actively enjoying a job within the Chinese language authorities’s enforced disappearance, coercion and propaganda equipment.”

When requested in regards to the criticism, the IOC mentioned in an announcement Monday that the primary objective of the decision was to learn the way Peng was – and that she “was very clear in confirming that she is secure and effectively.”

Click to play video: 'Tennis star Peng Shuai missing after accusing Chinese politician of sex assault'

Tennis star Peng Shuai lacking after accusing Chinese language politician of intercourse assault

Tennis star Peng Shuai lacking after accusing Chinese language politician of intercourse assault

She agreed to remain in contact with Olympic officers – together with having dinner with Bach in Beijing in January – and the physique mentioned it advised her she may attain out every time “she deems it applicable.” It added that with the intention to respect Peng’s privateness, it could not remark additional.

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That is the second time this yr that the IOC has been within the highlight for pushing forward with an Olympics: Many needed the physique to name off the Summer season Video games in Tokyo due to considerations in regards to the coronavirus pandemic. Critics word that IOC has a robust curiosity in holding the occasions as a result of it generates 91% of its earnings from sponsors and promoting broadcast rights on the Video games.

Learn extra:
Member of China state media shares pictures of lacking tennis star Peng Shuai

Peng is only one of a variety of Chinese language businesspeople, activists and bizarre individuals who have disappeared in recent times after criticizing social gathering figures or in crackdowns on corruption or pro-democracy and labor rights campaigns.

Whereas the ruling Communist Celebration is fast to blot out any criticism, that this time it got here from an athlete made it particularly delicate. State media have a good time athletes’ victories as proof the social gathering is making China robust _ and the social gathering is vigilant about ensuring they can not use their prominence and public attraction to erode its picture.

The tennis star accused a former member of the Communist Celebration’s ruling Standing Committee, Zhang Gaoli, of sexual assault in a social media publish that was eliminated shortly.

She wrote partially: “I do know that to you, vice minister Zhang Gaoli, an individual of excessive standing and energy, you’ve mentioned you’re not afraid. Along with your intelligence, you definitely will deny it or you possibly can even use it in opposition to me, you possibly can dismiss it with out a care. Even when I’m destroying myself, like throwing an egg in opposition to a rock, or a moth flying right into a flame, I’ll nonetheless converse out the reality about us.”

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Click to play video: 'China’s foreign ministry declines to comment on tennis star Peng Shuai’s whereabouts'

China’s international ministry declines to touch upon tennis star Peng Shuai’s whereabouts

China’s international ministry declines to touch upon tennis star Peng Shuai’s whereabouts

Considerations in regards to the censoring of her publish and her subsequent disappearance from public view grew right into a furor, drawing feedback from tennis greats like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams, and Martina Navratilova.

All of the whereas, information of her allegations was blacked out at house. CNN reported that its sign in China had been blocked throughout reporting on Peng.

A seek for her title Monday on Weibo, one in all China’s main social media platforms, produced only some posts, and none that consult with the sexual assault allegation or the questions on her whereabouts.

Learn extra:
IOC might take tougher line in opposition to China after tennis star goes lacking: member

Nonetheless lacking is Zhang. He left public life about three years in the past after being one in all seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee _ the apex of political energy in China.

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The WTA is the primary sports activities physique to defiantly stand as much as China’s monetary clout _ in what many see as a pointy distinction to the IOC, which says its coverage is “quiet diplomacy.”

“The statements make the IOC complicit within the Chinese language authority’s malicious propaganda and lack of take care of fundamental human rights and justice,” International Athlete, a foyer group for athletes, mentioned in an announcement.

“The IOC confirmed a whole disregard for allegations of sexual violence and abuse in opposition to athletes,” the assertion mentioned. “By taking a nonchalant method to Peng Shuai’s disappearance and by refusing to say her severe allegations of sexual assault, IOC President Thomas Bach and the IOC Athletes’ Fee display an abhorrent indifference to sexual violence and the well-being of feminine athletes.”

AP Sports activities Author Graham Dunbar contributed from Geneva.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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