: Why the International Olympic Committee Intervened on China’s Behalf in the Peng Shuai Controversy #WorldNEWS When Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai seemingly disappeared from public view after posting
@newsMNC 9 Days ago
Why the International Olympic Committee Intervened on China’s Behalf in the Peng Shuai Controversy #WorldNEWS
When Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai seemingly disappeared from public view after posting allegations that a top Chinese official sexually assaulted her, the Women’s Tennis Association made repeated requests to speak to Peng—and demanded that China investigate her allegations.
But, it appears that the the International Olympic Committee (IOC), not the WTA, was the first organization outside China to speak with Peng. The organizing body of the Olympic Games revealed Sunday that IOC President Thomas Bach had a video call with the three-time Olympic athlete.
In a statement, the IOC said Peng was well and asked people to respect her privacy—but it made no mention of Peng’s sexual assault allegation. The opaque nature of the IOC statement, paired with various appearances reported by Chinese state media, left some human rights advocates questioning whether Peng is truly as safe and as free as she seems.
Human rights advocates say the IOCs intervention in the Peng case shows it chose to side with officials in China—host of the 2022 Winter Olympics in February—instead of athletes.
Human Rights Watch on Monday accused the IOC of undermining its commitment to the rights and safety of athletes. It also criticized the IOC for failing to disclose whether it had offered support to Peng for her sexual assault claims.
“The IOC has vaulted itself from silence about Beijing’s abysmal human rights record to active collaboration with Chinese authorities in undermining freedom of speech and disregarding alleged sexual assault,” said Yaqiu Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch, in a statement.
Valerie Gache—AFP/Getty ImagesPresident of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach speaks during a ceremony of the 100-year anniversary of the IOC Executive Board at the monument of Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the International Olympic Committee, at the Olympic Academy in Ancient Olympia, birthplace of the ancient Olympics in southern Greece on October 17, 2021, a day before the flame-lighting ceremony for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
Bach had a 30-minute video call with Peng and other committee officials on Sunday, where she told them she was safe in her Beijing home. But the committee opted to stay silent on the sexual assault allegation Peng leveled at retired Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli in a Nov. 2 post on her Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform.
Peng said Zhang had coerced her into having sex with him some three years ago—but added she could not provide any evidence. Censors quickly scrubbed Chinese social media clean of Peng’s allegations, and officials kept mum on media questions about it.
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