Olympic Committee Accused of Supporting China ‘Propaganda’ After Video Call With Peng Shuai

A video name Sunday between Olympic officers and Chinese tennis participant Peng Shuai, who disappeared for almost three weeks after accusing a senior Chinese official of sexual assault, raised extra questions than solutions, the Associated Press reported.

The International Olympic Committee stated Peng spoke to officers, together with IOC President Thomas Bach, in a 30-minute video name from Beijing. According to the group’s assertion, she reassured them that she was effectively and thanked them for his or her concern however requested for her privateness.

“The statements make the IOC complicit in the Chinese authority’s malicious propaganda and lack of care for basic human rights and justice,” Global Athlete, a foyer group for athletes, stated in a press release.

The IOC posted a photograph displaying Bach dealing with Peng on display screen however didn’t launch video of the decision. China Open posted pictures and movies of her look at a youth tennis event in Beijing the identical morning.

Yaqiu Wang, a spokeswoman for Human Rights Watch, tweeted that the IOC is now “actively playing a role in the Chinese government’s enforced disappearance, coercion and propaganda machinery.”

The tennis star accused the previous member of the Communist Party’s ruling Standing Committee, Zhang Gaoli, of sexual assault in a social media publish that was eliminated shortly from Weibo, certainly one of China’s hottest social media platforms.

For extra reporting from the Associated Press, see under:

Peng Shuai, Tennis, China
Out of public view for nearly three weeks, Chinese tennis participant Peng Shuai appeared on November 21 in a stay video name with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach. Shuai waves after shedding to Canada Eugenie Bouchard of their first spherical match on the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia on January 15, 2019.
Mark Schiefelbein/AP Photo

In the social media publish Shuai wrote partly: “I know that to you, vice minister Zhang Gaoli, a person of high status and power, you’ve said you’re not afraid. With your intelligence, you certainly will deny it or you can even use it against me, you can dismiss it without a care. Even if I’m destroying myself, like throwing an egg against a rock, or a moth flying into a flame, I will still speak out the truth about us.”

Concerns concerning the censoring of her publish and her subsequent disappearance from public view grew right into a furor, drawing feedback from tennis greats like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams, and Martina Navratilova.

All the whereas, information of her allegations was blacked out at house. CNN reported that its sign in China had been blocked throughout reporting on Peng.

A seek for her title Monday on Weibo, certainly one of China’s main social media platforms, produced just a few posts, and none that discuss with the sexual assault allegation or the questions on her whereabouts.

Still lacking is Zhang. He left public life about three years in the past after being certainly one of seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee—the apex of political energy in China.

The IOC’s brief assertion, which provided few particulars and no follow-up on her allegations, appears unlikely to shut the door on Peng’s case—and it is resulting in growing criticism of the sports activities physique, which was already dealing with requires a boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, which open on February 4.

Even after the assertion was printed Sunday, the WTA repeated what chairman and CEO Steve Simon has been saying for greater than every week, calling for a full, truthful and clear investigation “without censorship.”

The IOC was already underneath strain due to allegations that China has dedicated human rights violations towards Uyghur Muslims, Tibetans and different minorities. China has denied the accusations. “We are firmly opposed to any words and deeds that politicize sports in violation of the Olympic spirit,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian stated Monday when requested a couple of attainable boycott.

The Olympic physique has responded to criticism by saying its coverage is “quiet diplomacy” and it might argue that its entry to Peng exhibits that works.

But critics stated the transfer makes the physique an energetic associate in delivering Beijing’s message—whereas not offering Peng with an open discussion board to debate her allegations.

An electronic mail looking for touch upon criticism of the IOC’s dealing with of its contact with Peng was despatched to the Olympic physique.

This is the second time this yr that the IOC has been within the highlight for pushing forward with an Olympics: Many needed the physique to name off the Summer Games in Tokyo due to issues concerning the coronavirus pandemic. Critics be aware that IOC has a robust curiosity in holding the occasions as a result of it generates 91 p.c of its revenue from sponsors and promoting broadcast rights on the Games.

Peng is only one of a variety of Chinese businesspeople, activists and odd individuals who have disappeared in recent times after criticizing social gathering figures or in crackdowns on corruption or pro-democracy and labor rights campaigns.

While the ruling Communist Party is fast to blot out any criticism, that this time it got here from an athlete made it particularly delicate. State media have a good time athletes’ victories as proof the social gathering is making China sturdy—and the social gathering is vigilant about ensuring they can not use their prominence and public enchantment to erode its picture.

The WTA is the primary sports activities physique to defiantly stand as much as China’s monetary clout—in what many see as a pointy distinction to the IOC, which stated it’s powerless to intervene in China’s inner insurance policies.

“The IOC showed a complete disregard for allegations of sexual violence and abuse against athletes,” the assertion stated. “By taking a nonchalant approach to Peng Shuai’s disappearance and by refusing to mention her serious allegations of sexual assault, IOC President Thomas Bach and the IOC Athletes’ Commission demonstrate an abhorrent indifference to sexual violence and the well-being of female athletes.”

Peng Shuai, Tennis, China, Beijing
The International Olympic Committee stated Peng Shuai spoke to officers, together with IOC President Thomas Bach, in a 30-minute video name from Beijing. Shuai in motion towards Daria Kasatkina of Russia throughout ladies’s singles first spherical match 2019 China Open-Day 1 on September 28, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Fred Lee/Getty Images

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