Peng Shuai: ‘Unanimous conclusion’ that tennis star is ‘fine,’ says IOC member Dick Pound

The European Union on Tuesday said it wants China to present “verifiable evidence” that Ms Peng is safe and conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into her sexual assault allegations. to former Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli.

One of China’s most popular sports stars, Peng has publicly accused Zhang of forcing her to have sex at his home, according to a screenshot of a deleted social media post. November 2nd.

Following the allegation, Peng disappeared from public view, prompting some fellow tennis players to express concern on social media, using the hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai.

21, the IOC said in a statement that its president, Thomas Bach, had a 30-minute video call with three-time Olympian Peng, which was attended by a sports official. China and an IOC official.

During the call, Peng appeared to be “doing well” and “comfortable”, saying she “wants to have her privacy respected,” the statement said. The IOC did not explain how to hold a video call with Peng and has not made the video public.

The European Union has commented that “Peng’s recent public reappearance does not alleviate concerns about her safety and freedom.”

Former Vice Premier of China Zhang Gaoli attends a discussion in Beijing in November 2012.

When asked how he can be sure that Peng Shuai’s appearance is not staged, Pound, who has not seen footage of the call, told CNN’s Erin Burnett: “There are so many countries. that you can’t easily leave my country. think a lot of that is speculation.”

Speaking of the people on the call, he said: “What we have is evidence that is hard to get and feel. These are people who have dealt with athletes and deal with pressure.

Peng Shuai: WTA still & # 39;  deeply concerned & # 39;  about Chinese tennis star

“They can tell if someone is behaving under duress.

“Their unanimous conclusion was that she was fine. And she just asked that her privacy be respected for the time being,” he said.

Pound previously told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that he was “confused” by the reaction to the video call between Peng and IOC President Bach.

He said that the IOC’s assessment of Shuai was “the best evidence we have at this time.”

“I would rely on the collective judgment of colleagues,” Pound said, adding that it was “a conversation between four Olympic athletes,” and that his colleagues would notice if the conversation did not “comfortable”.

China Human Rights Watch director Sophie Richardson denounced the IOC’s role in working with Chinese authorities on Peng’s re-emergence, while the head of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), Steve Simon, said the IOC’s intervention was not enough to ease concerns about Peng’s safety.

Peng’s case also raises difficult diplomatic questions for China, which will host the 2022 Winter Olympics from February 4 to 20.

Late last month, China’s foreign ministry said the government hoped “malicious speculations” regarding Ms. Peng’s happiness and whereabouts would stop, adding that her case should not be politically charged. chemotherapy.

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 remained tight-lipped and has not appeared in public since retiring in 2018, and there is no public information regarding his current whereabouts.

Before retiring as vice premier, Zhang was the head of the Chinese government’s working group for the Beijing Games. In this role, he inspected competition venues, visited athletes, announced official emblems and held meetings to coordinate preparations.

Zhang has previously met IOC President Bach at least once, and the two were photographed shaking hands in the Chinese capital in 2016.


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