IOC says Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai told officials she is safe during video call

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Nov. 21 (UPI) — Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai told the International Olympic Committee that she is safe in her home in Beijing after she made accusations of sexual assault against the capital city’s former vice premier, the governing body said Sunday.

IOC President Thomas Bach held a 30-minute video call with the three-time Olympian during which they were joined by Chair of the Athlete’s Commission Emma Terho and IOC Member in China Li Lingwei, according to a statement.

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“At the beginning of the 30-minute call, Peng Shuai thanked the IOC for its concern about her well-being,” the IOC said. “Seh explained that she is safe and well, living at her home in Beijing, but would like to have her privacy at this time.”

Peng added that she would prefer to spend time with friends and family right now but “will continue to be involved in tennis, the sport she loves so much,” the IOC said.

The governing body added that Bach invited Peng to dinner when he arrives in Beijing next January and she agreed to join him along with Terho and Li.

“I was relieved to see that Peng Shuai was doing fine, which was our main concern,” said Terho. “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.”

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Peng, a former world’s No. 1 doubles player, had not been seen in public since she made the accusations against former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli on Chinese social media platform Weibo on Nov. 2.

In the since-deleted post, Peng said Zhang forced her into sex three years ago after they had previously had a consensual relationship.

On Friday, the U.S.-based Women’s Tennis Association said it was willing to pull nearly a dozen sanctioned tennis events in China in 2022 over Peng’s disappearance.