Peng Shuai: the IOC claims to have spoken again with the player and defends her approach

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has engaged in a new balancing act against the host country of the next Winter Olympics in February. In a press release published Thursday, December 2, the body announced to have spoken again Wednesday with the Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, and tries to answer the accusations of convenience with China to muzzle the word of Peng Shuai, thus the emergence of a #metoo Chinese.

The 35-year-old’s fate became international concern after she posted a post on social media in early November accusing former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault. .

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“We share the same concern as many other people and organizations about the well-being and safety of Peng Shuai.”, most “We have opted for a very human and person-centered approach”, pleads in the Olympic body, which did not make public recording or image of this interview.

Regular contact with the player

If the boss of the Olympics, Thomas Bach, had obtained ten days ago the first contact of a foreign interlocutor with the player, it is “An IOC team” who led this second videoconference “Half an hour”, during which the player “Appeared to be safe and doing well, given the difficult situation she is in”.

“We offered her a very broad support, we will keep in regular contact with her, and have already fixed a personal meeting in January” envisaged during the first interview with Mr. Bach, specifies the organization based in Lausanne.

As in its previous press releases on the subject, the IOC made no reference to the accusations of sexual assault made in early November by Peng Shuai against a former senior Chinese leader, and did not ask for any clarification on this. no guarantee on the full freedom of movement of the player.

Saving Beijing before the Winter Olympics

This discretion, widely perceived as a desire to spare the host of the next Beijing Winter Games (from February 4 to 20, 2022), contrasts with the virulent positions taken by many tennis stars and the decision announced on Wednesday by the WTA. , which manages the women’s tennis circuit, to suspend its tournaments in China.

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The IOC denies being in direct contact with the Chinese authorities: “As this is a three-time Games participant, the IOC is addressing these concerns directly with Chinese sports organizations. “ “We use quiet diplomacy which, given the circumstances and the experience of governments and other organizations, is seen as the most promising way to act effectively in this type of humanitarian affairs.”, pleaded the organization.

The ATP, which manages the men’s professional tennis circuit, has, for its part, demanded direct access to Peng Shuai and considers that the best way to influence its situation in China is to favor a presence there, according to a press release released Thursday. “We renew our urgent call for the opening of a direct line of communication between the player and the WTA in order to establish a clearer picture of her situation.”, said ATP President Andrea Gaudenzi in a text that does not quote China once.

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Contrary to the decision of the WTA, Mr. Gaudenzi believes that a “Worldwide presence gives a better chance of achieving results”. “The situation regarding Peng Shuai continues to raise concerns within and outside of our sport. The response to these concerns has so far been insufficient “, he denounces, however.

“We continue to discuss with our members and follow the developments in this matter”, concludes Mr. Gaudenzi in a short text which does not make any direct reference to the situation of the 35-year-old player either.

Le Monde with AFP and Reuters

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Peng Shuai: the IOC claims to have spoken again with the player and defends her approach