China’s foreign ministry says Peng Shuai case should not be politicized

Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, declined to comment on whether the Chinese government would open an investigation into Peng’s alleged sexual assault against former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli. He repeated previous comments to reporters, saying that Peng’s situation “is not a matter of diplomacy.”

“I believe people have also seen her attend some recent public events as well Video calls with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President (Thomas) Bach,” Zhao said. When asked by a reporter if Peng’s incident had a negative effect on China’s image, Zhao said: “I think some people should stop the malicious hype and not politicize this. release.”

His comments echoed comments made by a prominent Chinese state newspaper editor on Tuesday. “Some Western forces are coercing Peng Shuai and an organization, forcing them to help wreak havoc on China’s system,” said Hu Xijin, editor of the nationalist tabloid Global Times. write on Twitter.

Peng, a two-time Grand Slam doubles champion and one of China’s top tennis players, has publicly accused Zhang of forcing her to have sex at his home, according to screenshots. Image of a deleted social media post on 2/11.

Her disappearance from public life for more than two weeks following the allegations sparked a wave of international concern, with the Women’s Tennis Association and United Nation called for an investigation into her alleged sexual assault.

WTA director Steve Simon threatened to pull out of China unless Peng was explained and her allegations investigated.

On Sunday, IOC President Bach hold a video call along with Peng, accompanied by Chinese sports official Li Lingwei and the chairman of the Athletes’ Commission, Emma Terho.

The IOC did not give CNN access to the video but said in a statement that Peng insisted she was “safe and healthy, living at her home in Beijing, but wanted her privacy to be respected.” in this moment.”

The call, which is said to have lasted 30 minutes, appears to be Peng’s first known direct contact with officials outside of China since the allegations were made.

Amnesty International said the IOC had “entered dangerous waters” with the video call.

“They should be extremely careful not to engage in any vigilance of possible human rights abuses,” said Amnesty China researcher Alkan Akad.

Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai has finally appeared in public.  But here's why worries don't go away

The WTA also extended the request for an investigation following the call.

“It’s good to see Peng Shuai in the recent videos, but they don’t allay or address the WTA’s concerns about her health and her ability to communicate without censorship or coercion.” a spokesperson told CNN in a statement.

“This video does not change our call for a full, fair and transparent, uncensored, uncensored investigation into her alleged sexual assault, which is a matter of concern to us. shy at first.”

Chinese authorities have not acknowledged Peng’s allegations against Zhang, and there is no indication that an investigation is underway. It remains unclear whether Peng will report his allegations to the police.

Zhang has kept a low and obscure reputation from public life since retiring in 2018, and there is no public information regarding his whereabouts.

In China, senior party leaders like Zhang are often not publicly reproached, even in retirement. As deputy prime minister, Zhang served on the seven-member Polituro Standing Committee of the Communist Party, the country’s supreme governing body, along with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

CNN’s Beijing office contributed reporting.


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