STEPHEN WADEAP Sports Writer
WTA director Steve Simon communicates freely, openly and directly with the whereabouts of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai after alleging that a powerful politician forced her to have sex. He says he continues to be “deeply concerned” about his abilities.
Peng, an Olympic athlete and former top-ranked double sprayer, dropped out of public after accusing former Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli of sexual abuse in a post on the Internet in China on November 2. authorities.
“Steve Simon contacted Peng Shuai via various communication channels,” the WTA said in a statement on Saturday.
“He sent her two emails. It was clear that her reply was influenced by others. He was deeply concerned that Peng was not released from censorship and coercion. And decided not to re-engage by email until she was convinced that her response was her own and not her censor’s. WTA is free, open, and I’m still concerned about her ability to communicate directly. “
A week ago, Thomas Bach, chairman of the International Olympic Committee, said he spoke with Peng on a video call. The IOC did not release the transcript, saying that Bach only reported that she was fine.
The IOC has released a photo of Bach talking to Penn through video screenshots.
The IOC said in a statement that Peng seemed to be “doing well” and demanded privacy. The IOC worked closely with the Chinese Olympic Committee and government officials to host the Beijing Winter Olympics on February 4, but did not explain how to arrange a phone call.
Critics suggest that Peng would not have called the IOC if Peng could really speak freely.
Human Rights Watch has criticized the IOC for working with China’s publicity department in arranging a meeting with Peng. The IOC has previously argued that it cannot intervene in other human rights issues that are clouding the Beijing Winter Olympics and must be neutral.
Human Rights Watch researcher Yaki Wang said, “IOC is aggressive with Chinese authorities to undermine freedom of speech and ignore allegations of sexual assault from silence over Beijing’s terrible human rights record. I jumped up to the cooperation. “
Simon threatens to withdraw the WTA event from China unless there is a clear answer and guarantee that Peng is speaking freely. This is the first sports organization to openly oppose China, which provides significant income to other sports organizations such as the IOC and NBA.
The whereabouts of the 75-year-old Zhang, who was accused by Peng, have not been reported. He hasn’t spoken publicly about the case. He resigned from the Politburo Standing Committee, which consists of powerful seven members, about three years ago.
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WTA continues to be “concerned” about Peng’s ability to speak freely | National News
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