Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai said she was “safe and well” in a video call on Nov. 21, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced amid global concerns on the whereabouts of the athlete.
“Peng Shuai thanked the IOC for its concern about her well-being. She explained that she is safe and well, living at her home in Beijing, but would like to have her privacy respected at this time,” IOC said about the 30-minute call with IOC President Thomas Bach, IOC Athletes’ Commission Chair Emma Terho, and IOC Member in China Li Lingwei.
“She prefers to spend her time with friends and family right now. Nevertheless, she will continue to be involved in tennis,” IOC further said.
Bach also invited Peng for a dinner, along with Terho and Li, once he arrives in Beijing next January, ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics, which Peng “gladly accepted.”
The call came after Peng publicly accused former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual harassment in a now-deleted post on Chinese social media site Weibo earlier in the month.
Peng had not been seen in public since the accusation, prompting widespread concern.
The United States and the United Kingdom also demanded China to provide evidence of Peng’s whereabouts and wellbeing.
Earlier on Nov. 21, Chinese state journalist Hu Xijin posted on Twitter a video of Peng attending a junior tennis tournament.
However, WTA Chairman Steve Simon said, “This video alone is insufficient.”
“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,” Simon said.
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