Nov 21, 2021 - World

Missing Chinese tennis player tells Olympic Committee she is safe

Peng Shuai
Peng Shuai at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, on Jan. 21, 2020. Photo: Xinhua/Bai Xue via Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee held a video call on Sunday with missing tennis player Peng Shuai, whose whereabouts have been a subject of international worry for weeks.

The latest: Peng "explained that she is safe and well, living at her home in Beijing, but would like to have her privacy respected at this time," according to the IOC statement released on Sunday.

  • “I was relieved to see that Peng Shuai was doing fine, which was our main concern," said Athletes’ Commission Chair Emma Terho, who joined IOC President Thomas Bach and an IOC member in China on the call.

"It was good to see Peng Shuai in recent videos, but they don’t alleviate or address the WTA’s concern about her well-being and ability to communicate without censorship or coercion," a spokesperson for the Women's Tennis Association told Axios Sunday.

  • "This video does not change our call for a full, fair and transparent investigation, without censorship, into her allegation of sexual assault, which is the issue that gave rise to our initial concern," they added.
  • Peng had not been seen in public since she accused China's former vice premier of sexual assault on Nov. 2.

Catch up quick: While tennis authorities have called for a full investigation into the allegations, China's state-controlled media suppressed all reporting on the case.

  • On Sunday, the tennis star appeared to attend the Fila Kids Junior Tennis Challenger Finals, and photos that appear to be of her were published on the event's official WeChat page, Reuters reported.
  • This appearance comes a day after footage circulated on social media that appeared to show Peng at a restaurant in downtown Beijing on Saturday night, per Reuters.

But, but, but: In a statement on Saturday, WTA CEO Steve Simon said that Peng's recent appearance did not assuage the organization's concern.

  • “I am glad to see the videos released by China state-run media that appear to show Peng Shuai at a restaurant in Beijing. While it is positive to see her, it remains unclear if she is free and able to make decisions and take actions on her own, without coercion or external interference," he said.
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