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IOC says it talked to China’s Peng Shuai last week

file photo: tennis australian open first round
The Tour had said last month it was still working to find a resolution to the standoff with China over the Peng Shuai issue and would not return to the country this year

The International Olympic Committee talked with Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai last week and will meet her in Beijing during next month’s Winter Olympics, it said on Wednesday.

Peng’s situation became a matter of concern in November when the former women’s number one doubles player alleged that a former Chinese vice premier, Zhang Gaoli, had sexually assaulted her in the past. After that social media post, she was absent from public view for nearly three weeks.

Last month Peng said she had never accused anyone of sexually assaulting her, and that the post she made had been misunderstood. Zhang has not commented on the matter.

“Since the first call that the IOC held with Peng Shuai on 21 November 2021, the IOC team has kept in touch with her and had a number of conversations with her – the last one just the past week,” an IOC spokesperson said.

“She mentioned again that she is looking forward to a meeting with IOC President Thomas Bach and Emma Terho, the Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, to which we had invited her in the first conversation.”

The IOC has had several phone calls with the player but international concerns over her safety and wellbeing have not been allayed.

The Women’s Tennis Association has suspended tournaments in China due to its concerns over Peng’s safety.

China has not directly commented on Peng’s initial post, but said after the WTA’s move that it “opposes the politicisation of sports”.

The Beijing Olympics will start on Feb. 4.

 

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