LAUSANNE, Switzerland –
Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai joined a 30-minute video call from Beijing with IOC officials and told them she was safe and healthy, the Olympic body said on Sunday.
The call comes amid growing global alarm about Peng. Her appearance at a youth tennis event on Sunday in Beijing and social media posts on her behalf did not completely convince people outside of China that she has freedom. action, after she allegedly sexually assaulted a former top Communist Party official.
The call – with IOC president Thomas Bach, athletes committee chairman Emma Terho and IOC member Li Lingwei, former vice president of the China Tennis Association – appeared to be Peng’s first face-to-face contact with Peng. sports officials outside of China since her disappearance from the public. on November 2
Peng “thanks the IOC for taking care of her health,” the Switzerland-based Olympic body said in a statement.
“She explained that she is safe and healthy, living at her home in Beijing, but wants her privacy to be respected at this time. That’s why she likes to spend her time. to friends and family right now,” the statement said.
Peng, who played for China at three Olympics from 2008 to 2016, made the allegation of sexual assault on social media three weeks ago against a former member of the ruling Standing Committee. of the Communist Party, Zhang Gaoli.
The post was deleted within minutes and the former top-ranked doubles player disappeared from public view. She did not publicly respond to calls providing information that she was safe.
The International Olympic Committee has been criticized for being relatively quiet in public as concerns about Peng have grown over the past week. It has pursued a policy of “quiet diplomacy” with the host nation of the 2022 Olympics. The Beijing Winter Olympics opened on February 4.
Bach invited Peng to dinner when he arrived in Beijing in January “and she happily accepted”, the IOC said. Terho and Li were also invited.
“I am relieved to see Peng Shuai doing well, which is our main concern,” Terho said in the IOC statement. Hockey players from Finland represent athletes on the IOC executive board.
“She seemed comfortable,” Terho said. “I’ve offered her our support and kept in touch at any time convenient for her, which she clearly appreciates.”