China. Sexual harassment and missing tennis player Peng Shuai. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs comments

This is not a diplomatic matter, said Zhao Lijian, spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, referring to the high-profile Peng Shuai case. The tennis player who accused the former deputy prime minister of molestation disappeared from public space for almost three weeks. Over the weekend, Chinese state media released videos of Peng at dinner in one of Beijing’s restaurants and at a children’s tennis tournament. The International Olympic Committee announced that over the weekend, the head of the IOC, Thomas Bach, spoke to the tennis player via a video link.

– I believe everyone saw that she recently participated in public events and video-linked to IOC President (Thomas) Bach. I hope some people will stop maliciously blowing (this case), let alone politicizing (it), said Zhao Lijian at a briefing in Beijing on Tuesday. “This is not a diplomatic issue,” added a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, quoted by Reuters.

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IOC chief Thomase Bach spoke to tennis player Peng ShuaiEPA / OIS / IOC / INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE / GREG MARTIN HANDOUT HANDOUT

Concern about the disappearance

The 35-year-old doubles player has been lifeless for nearly three weeks since she accused former deputy prime minister Zhang Gaoli of sexual harassment on the Chinese Weibo network in early November. Her post was quickly removed by censorship. Chinese media are not reporting on the case, and Peng’s name is banned from national social media.

The disappearance of Peng has caused concern in the world, and the question “where is Peng Shuai?” reported on social media by leading representatives of the world of sport, including tennis players Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka, and footballer Gerard Pique. The WTA organization that oversees major women’s tennis competitions has threatened to cancel all tournaments in China unless the matter is resolved.

Peng ShuaiFRANCIS MALASIG / PAP / EPA

Published recordings

Over the weekend, Chinese state media released videos of Peng at dinner in one of Beijing’s restaurants and at a children’s tennis tournament. The IOC said on Sunday that the head of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, spoke to Peng via a video link on Sunday, and the tennis player “explained that she was safe and well”, but “she would like her privacy to be respected and therefore prefer to spend time with her friends. and family”.

However, the recordings did not calm the WTA. “It was good to see Peng Shuai on the recent recordings, but they do not allay concerns about her condition and the ability to communicate without censorship or coercion,” said a WTA spokeswoman. When asked about a conversation between Peng and the IOC chief, she replied that “the recording does not alter our appeal for a full, fair and transparent investigation, without censorship, of the sexual assault allegations, which gave rise to our concerns.”

Amnesty International researcher Alkan Akad said in an interview with Reuters that the recordings did not dispel doubts about the Peng situation. – The International Olympic Committee affects dangerous waters. We have seen similar things in the past where people had no choice but to say what they were told, said Akkad.

Main photo source: EPA / OIS / IOC / INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE / GREG MARTIN HANDOUT HANDOUT

About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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