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Hong Kong — Chinese language tennis starafter virtually 20 days of silence and world concern that she might have been detained. However photos displaying Peng over the weekend do not seem to have eased fears for her security that started when she disappeared from public view following an accusation of sexual assault in opposition to one of many Chinese language Communist Get together’s former prime leaders.
As CBS News correspondent Ramy Inocencio reviews, Peng’s first real-time contact with the skin world in virtually three weeks came visiting the weekend within the type of a video name with Thomas Bach, President of the Worldwide Olympic Committee. Through the 30-minute name, Peng assured Bach that she was “safe and well,” in accordance with the IOC.
The IOC launched solely a single nonetheless picture from that video chat, displaying Peng smiling, together with an announcement that mentioned she was at residence in Beijing and wished her privateness to be revered.
It got here after the discharge over the weekend of a seemingly scripted and stage-managed video of Peng together with her tennis coach, with pressured references to the date of November 21, that was posted to Twitter by the editor of China’s World Occasions tabloid, which is intently allied with the ruling Communist Get together. There was additionally some video of her waving to spectators on the China Open on Sunday morning, and a few images of Peng taking part in with a cat.
All the brand new photos do seem to point out Peng over the weekend, however they’ve solely known as extra into query whether or not she has been performing below duress.
On November 2, the 35-year-old former Wimbledon and French Open doubles champ, who can be a three-time Olympian, publicly accused former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, a detailed ally of Chinese language President Xi Jinping, of sexual coercion about three years in the past.
The four-paragraph word posted by Peng’s on Chinese language social media platform Weibo was rapidly deleted. All references to her title have been nonetheless being censored online in China by way of Sunday.
An e-mail allegedly despatched by Peng to the pinnacle of the Ladies’s Tennis Affiliation (WTA), aired on China’s state media, retracted every thing. The writer wrote: “The allegation of sexual assault is not true. I’m not missing nor am I unsafe. I’ve just been resting at home and everything is fine.”
WTA boss Steve Simon, to whom the letter was addressed, took little consolation from the e-mail, saying it solely raised additional his “concerns as to her safety and whereabouts.”
“I have a hard time believing that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email we received or believes what is being attributed to her,” he mentioned final week.
Following Peng’s video chat with the IOC boss over the weekend, the chair of the Olympic physique’s Athletes’ Fee, Emma Terho, mentioned in an announcement that she was “relieved to see that Peng Shuai was doing fine, which was our main concern. She appeared to be relaxed. I offered her our support and to stay in touch at any time of her convenience, which she obviously appreciated.”
However the WTA, which together with the U.S. and the United Nations had demanded proof of Peng’s well-being and an investigation into her allegation of sexual assault, indicated that Peng’s personal video chat with the IOC had did not allay considerations. The group repeated its earlier requires a full, clear investigation into each Peng’s circumstances and her assault allegation, “without censorship.”
China threat analyst and CBS News contributor Isaac Stone Fish was additionally unconvinced, and he questioned the IOC’s willingness to take part as a third-hand conveyor of the knowledge.
“It’s certainly quite suspicious,” Stone Fish advised CBS News, “that the International Olympic Committee — an organization known for its close ties with Beijing — was the Western conduit for [the] alleged video chat with Peng, as opposed to, say, the Women’s Tennis Association, which has been a lot more critical.”
The Winter Olympics in Beijing are set to start in just some months, on February 4. The U.S. and different Western nations have already made it clear that they may formally boycott the Video games, declining to ship senior officers to take part within the opening ceremony.
The WTA has threatened to drag out of an enormous take care of China to carry its championships within the nation by way of 2028. WTA chief Simon mentioned final week that the group was keen to sacrifice the settlement with China — which he is estimated at about $1 billion in complete worth — if Peng’s circumstances weren’t utterly verified.
On the very least, the world now does at the very least have a solution to the query, which has been adopted as a hashtag on social media, “#WhereisPengShuai?”
It remained unclear on Monday whether or not Beijing would launch a probe into Peng’s accusations of sexual assault by the senior communist occasion member. It has develop into the highest-reaching allegation of China’s “MeToo” motion thus far. However with Peng smiling and asking for privateness on China’s state-run media, it did not seem that any investigation was imminent.
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