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IOC Holds Second Video Call With Chinese Tennis Star Peng Shuai: ‘Appeared To Be Safe And Well’

   DailyWire.com
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 21: Shuai Peng of China in action during her Women's Singles first round match against Nao Hibino of Japan on day two of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 21, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images)
Fred Lee/Getty Images

Following the news that the Women’s Tennis Association has suspended all WTA tournaments in China — including in Hong Kong — the International Olympics Committee (IOC) announced a second call with Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai held on Wednesday. 

“We share the same concern as many other people and organisations about the well-being and safety of Peng Shuai,” the IOC said in a statement. “This is why, just yesterday, an IOC team held another video call with her. We have offered her wide-ranging support, will stay in regular touch with her, and have already agreed on a personal meeting in January.”

“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,” the statement continued. “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.”

According to ESPN, the call with Peng was held shortly before the WTA’s suspension of tournaments in China. 

The IOC first made contact with Peng on November 21, in which she said she was “safe and well.” 

“I was relieved to see that Peng Shuai was doing fine, which was our main concern. She appeared to be relaxed. I offered her our support and to stay in touch at any time of her convenience, which she obviously appreciated,” said Emma Terho, Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission.

While the video call seemed to be enough at the time for the IOC, many other organizations have called for more evidence, including the European Union. 

“The EU joins growing international demands, including by sport professionals, for assurances that she is free and not under threat,” the EU said in a November statement. “In this spirit, the EU requests the Chinese government to provide verifiable proof of Peng Shuai’s safety, well-being and whereabouts. The EU urges the Chinese authorities to conduct a full, fair and transparent investigation into her allegations of sexual assault.”

Peng’s safety has been a concern since her November 2 social media post in which she accused former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexually assaulting her three years ago following a round of tennis. She also said Zhang’s wife guarded the door. Her post was deleted nearly 30 minutes after publication and Peng’s account on Weibo — a Chinese social media platform — was blocked from searchers on the platform. 

Peng was not seen or heard from publicly until a November 17 statement attributed to Peng was shared on Twitter by CGTN — a Chinese state-affiliated media company — where Peng denied her claim that Zhang sexually assaulted her.

Shortly before her initial video call with the IOC, a video of Peng appeared online via Chinese state media that showed Peng eating at a restaurant with her coach and friends, as well as appearing at a youth tennis tournament in Beijing.

Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to sports@dailywire.com.