Peng’s call with IOC not enough: WTA
Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai's video call with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) president does not address or alleviate the Women's Tennis Association's (WTA) concern about her well-being, it said yesterday.
The whereabouts of Peng, a former doubles world No. 1, became an international concern nearly three weeks ago, after she alleged that former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli had sexually assaulted her.
She appeared at a dinner with friends last Saturday and a children's tournament in Beijing on Sunday, photographs and videos by Chinese state media journalists and by the organisers show. But they have done little to quell concerns.
"It was good to see Peng Shuai in recent videos, but they don't alleviate or address the WTA's concern about her well-being and ability to communicate without censorship or coercion," a WTA spokesman said in an e-mail.
Asked about the IOC call, the spokesman said: "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."
The IOC said in a statement that Peng held a 30-minute call with its president Thomas Bach last Sunday, during which she said she was safe and well at home in Beijing, and wanted to have her privacy respected for now.
The concern over Peng comes as global rights groups and others have called for a boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February over China's human rights record. The WTA has also threatened to pull tournaments out of China over the matter.
Hu Xijin, editor of the state-owned Global Times, said on Twitter yesterday that her appearance should be enough to ease worries of "those who truly care about (the) safety of Peng Shuai. But, for those aiming to attack China's system and boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics, facts, no matter how many, don't work for them," he said. - REUTERS