WTA still concerned about Chinese tennis star after IOC call

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has said that a call between Peng Shuai and the President of the International Olympic Committee does not address its concerns over the Chinese tennis star’s wellbeing, the BBC reported.

An IOC statement after the call claimed that Peng appeared to be safe and well.

Peng, 35, disappeared from public eye for almost three weeks after she made sexual assault allegations against a senior Chinese minister.

On Sunday, the IOC released a statement after its President Thomas Bach held a video call with the three-time Olympian, the report said.

The IOC account said that Peng had “thanked the IOC for its concern about her wellbeing”.

“She explained that she is safe and well, living at her home in Beijing, but would like to have her privacy respected at this time,” the statement said.

“She prefers to spend her time with her friends and family right now. Nevertheless, she will continue to be involved in tennis,” it added, the report said.

The IOC statement also included an image of the video call taking place, with Peng seen smiling to the camera.

But the WTA said the recent videos “don’t alleviate or address the WTA’s concern about her wellbeing and ability to communicate without censorship or coercion”.

“This video does not change our call for a full, fair and transparent investigation, without censorship, into her allegation of sexual assault, which is the issue that gave rise to our initial concern,” it said, the BBC reported.

Global Athlete, a sporting rights organisation, criticised what it called the IOC’s “nonchalant” approach to Peng’s disappearance and accused it of displaying “an abhorrent indifference to sexual violence and the well-being of female athletes”.

“The release pretends that Peng never made sexual assault allegations and has not been missing for more than two weeks. The statements make the IOC complicit in the Chinese authority’s malicious propaganda and lack of care for basic human rights and justice,” it added, the report said.

A rally was also staged in New York on Sunday in support of Peng by a group of Chinese feminists.

Event organiser Crystal Chen told the BBC that while the released videos and photos appear to show Peng “physically unharmed”, she was “not truly free”.

“She can’t say whatever she wants to say in a safe condition,” alleged Chen, who has chosen not to be identified by her real name.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here