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WTA says phone call Chinese tennis star with Olympic chef is not enough

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The whereabouts of the world’s former number one doubles player, Peng, has been a source of international concern for nearly three weeks after she alleged that a former senior Chinese government official sexually assaulted her.

Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai’s video call with the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) does not address the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA)’s concerns about her well-being, the WTA said Monday.

The whereabouts of the world’s former number one doubles player, Peng, has been a source of international concern for nearly three weeks after she alleged that a former senior Chinese government official sexually assaulted her.

She appeared on Saturday at a dinner with friends and on Sunday at a children’s tennis tournament in Beijing, photos and videos published by Chinese state media journalists and by the organizers of the tournament. But they have done little to allay the concerns.

“It was good to see Peng Shuai in recent videos, but they are not taking away or dispelling the WTA’s concerns about her well-being and her ability to communicate without censorship or coercion,” a WTA spokeswoman said in an email. .

Asked about the conversation with the IOC, the spokeswoman said: “This video does not change our call for a full, fair and transparent investigation, without censorship, in her allegation of sexual assault, the issue that gave rise to our first concern.”

The IOC said in a statement that Peng held a 30-minute meeting with President Thomas Bach on Sunday and thanked the Olympic organization for its concern.

“She explained that she lives safe and sound in her home in Beijing, but at this point she would like her privacy to be respected,” the IOC said in a statement.

“That’s why she now prefers to spend her time with friends and family, but she will continue to be involved in tennis, the sport she loves so much.”

The concern over Peng comes as global human rights groups and others have called for a boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February over China’s human rights record. The WTA has also threatened to withdraw tournaments from China over the matter.

On November 2, Peng posted on Chinese social media that former Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli forced her into sex and that they later had an on-off consensual relationship. The post was quickly removed and the topic has been blocked from discussion on the heavily censored internet in China.

Neither Mr Zhang nor the Chinese government have commented on Peng’s allegations.

The French foreign minister on Sunday called on Chinese authorities to allow Peng to speak in public.

“I only expect one thing: for her to speak,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told LCI television, adding that there could be unspecified diplomatic ramifications if China does not clarify the situation. His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the IOC statement.

The United States and Britain have also called on China to provide evidence of Peng’s whereabouts.

Current and former tennis players, including Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams and Billie Jean King, joined calls to confirm she was safe, using the hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai?

Novak Djokovic, the world No. 1 men’s ranking, said it would be strange to hold tournaments in China unless the “horrific” situation is resolved.

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2/ https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/wta-says-chinese-tennis-stars-call-with-olympic-chief-is-not-enough/article37619295.ece

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