WTA: Chinese tennis star’s call without IOC doesn’t address concerns

Associated Press/Andy Brownbill

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) said that a recent video call between Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai and International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials doesn’t address its concerns about her well-being. 

The IOC said on Sunday that Peng had a 30-minute conversation with the committee’s president, Thomas Bach, Athletes’ Commission President Emma Terho and committee member Li Lingwei. 

In the video call, Peng reportedly thanked the committee for expressing their concern about her well-being, adding that she is currently living in Beijing and asking the committee for privacy at this time. 

In an emailed statement to Reuters, a WTA spokesperson said the IOC video doesn’t “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.”

“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,” the WTA spokesperson added, according to the news service.

Peng, a former No. 1 doubles player in the world, was reported missing for weeks after posting a now-deleted social media post in which she accused former Chinese vice president Zhang Gaoli of forcing her to have sex with him despite repeated refusals following a round of tennis. 

Various tennis stars including Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, Bille Jean King and Novak Djokovic called attention to her disappearance.  

The U.S., Great Britain and France also pressed China to provide proof of Peng’s whereabouts, Reuters noted. 

The Hill has reached out to the WTA for comment.

Tags Beijing China Peng Shuai Peng Shuai WTA

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