Peng Shuai meets IOC leader and denies sexual assault allegations

Chinese and international Olympics officials attempted to spark the country’s biggest #MeToo controversy on Monday, as details of two carefully controlled encounters with tennis star Peng Shuai was announced on the fourth day of the Beijing Winter Olympics.

Peng, three-time Olympic athlete, accused in a November social media post that she had at least one non-consensual sex and affair with Zhang Gaoli, a 75-year-old former Chinese vice premier who oversees close the preparations for the Olympics. The post was deleted shortly after publication.

Peng, 36, told French sports newspaper L’Equipe that she “never said that someone sexually assaulted me in any way” during the first sitting down interview since the controversy broke out. L’Equipe said many of its questions were considered and Peng spoke in the presence of a representative from China’s Olympic committee.

Peng also said that she, not a moderator, deleted the social media post. “There was a big misunderstanding in the outside world after this post. . . And I don’t want any media hype around it,” she said.

Separately, the International Olympic Committee said Thomas Bach, chairman of the organizing committee, met Peng for dinner on Saturday night. The IOC, which implied on Sunday that the meeting had yet to be held, did not address the controversy regarding Peng’s allegations.

Bach organized a Video calls with Peng shortly after she made the allegation and largely disappeared from public view. The IOC said Peng had agreed to meet Bach for dinner during the Olympics.

Mark Adams, a spokesman for the IOC, defended the decision to release statement acknowledged dinner two days after the event than when asked about it on Sunday. The IOC “issued a statement this morning because we had a statement ready, it’s as simple as that,” he said, adding that it was “not a judgment for the IOC to make” on whether Peng should be prosecuted. hung or not.

Adams said the IOC did not provide corroborating evidence of the dinner because having a photographer present was “not really beneficial” for meeting the Chinese tennis player.

The IOC is “trying hard in situations just to see” her, he said. “We started with the question ‘Where is Peng Shuai?’ We found her. ‘How is she?’ We started talking to her. Now we have actually met her in person. . . As a sports organization, I’d say we’re actually doing quite well in navigating these issues. “

Bach was accompanied by another member of the IOC, but the organization did not say whether Peng was joined by Chinese officials. “All three agree that all communications regarding the meeting will be kept [Peng’s] The IOC said.

Yang Shu’an, vice chairman of the Beijing Olympic organizing committee, denied any involvement. “We are just focused on the operation of the Olympics,” he told reporters.

Peng’s post about Zhang appeared on her verified Weibo account and made another post international controversy to the Chinese government and the IOC ahead of the Olympics.

Several Western countries, including the US, UK, Australia and Canada, have announced diplomatic boycott of the Olympics about Beijing’s extrajudicial detention of more than 1 million Muslim Uighurs in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region.

Chinese officials insist the camps are part of a vocational education system needed to combat religious extremism in Xinjiang.

In an apparent display of defiance of international condemnation of what human rights activists and other activists have called the “Olympic Genocide,” Chinese Olympic officials drafted an unannounced, ethnic Uighur member of their cross-country skiing team to help light the Olympic flame at Opening ceremony last week.

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