Wed, 19 Jan 2022

Lausanne [Switzerland], December 2 (ANI): The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Thursday informed that it had held a second video call with Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai and she had confirmed that she is "safe and in good condition".

"The IOC's efforts led to a half-hour videoconference with Peng Shuai on 21 November, during which she explained her situation and appeared to be safe and well, given the difficult situation she is in. This was reconfirmed in yesterday's call. Our human and person-centred approach means that we continue to be concerned about her personal situation and will continue to support her," the IOC said in a statement.

This comes a few days after Human Rights Watch (HRW) had slammed IOC for collaborating with Chinese authorities on tennis star Peng Shuai's reappearance.

"There are different ways to achieve her well-being and safety. We have taken a very human and person-centred approach to her situation," the statement added.

Earlier, Thomas Bach had a 30-minute video call with three-time Olympian Peng Shuai, joined by a Chinese sports official and an IOC official.

The rights group said that this move undermines its expressed commitment to human rights, including the rights and safety of athletes.

The statement said that, during the call, Peng appeared to be "doing fine" and "relaxed," and said she "would like to have her privacy respected." The IOC did not explain how the video call with Peng had been organized, given the difficulties other concerned parties have had reaching her.

Yaqiu Wang, a senior China researcher at HRW, had said that 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.

"The IOC appears to prize its relationship with a major human rights violator over the rights and safety of Olympic athletes," Wang added.

Peng, 35, went missing on November 2 after she said on Chinese social media that she had been sexually assaulted and forced into a sexual relationship with Zhang Gaoli, 75, who was China's vice premier from 2013 to 2018. (ANI)

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