Peng Shuai: ‘Unanimous conclusion’ that tennis star is ‘fine,’ says IOC member Dick Pound

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The European Union on Tuesday mentioned it needs China to launch “verifiable proof” that Peng is secure and to conduct a radical and clear investigation into her sexual assault allegations in opposition to former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.

One among China’s most recognizable sports activities stars, Peng publicly accused Zhang of coercing her into intercourse at his residence, in response to screenshots of a since-deleted social media submit dated November 2.

Following the accusation, Peng disappeared from public view, prompting a number of fellow tennis gamers to precise fear on social media, utilizing the hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai.

On November 21, the IOC mentioned in an announcement that its president, Thomas Bach, had a 30-minute video name with three-time Olympian Peng, joined by a Chinese language sports activities official and an IOC official.

The assertion mentioned that, in the course of the name, Peng seemed to be “doing advantageous” and was “relaxed,” saying she “wish to have her privateness revered.” The IOC didn’t clarify how the video name with Peng had been organized and has not made the video publicly obtainable.

The European Union has commented that Peng’s “latest public reappearance doesn’t ease issues about her security and freedom.”

Former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli pictured attending a panel discussion in Beijing in November 2012.

When requested on how he can ever make sure Peng Shuai’s appearances aren’t staged, Pound, who has not seen footage of the decision, informed CNN’s Erin Burnett: “There are many international locations the place you possibly can’t simply depart the nation. I believe a number of that’s hypothesis.”

Talking of these on the decision, he mentioned: “What we’ve got is difficult proof as we will have and really feel. These are individuals who have handled athletes and handled strain.

Peng Shuai: WTA remains 'deeply concerned' about Chinese tennis star

“They will inform whether or not someone is behaving below duress or not.

“Their unanimous conclusion was that she was advantageous. And she or he simply requested that her privateness be revered in the interim,” he mentioned.

Pound beforehand informed CNN’s Christiane Amanpour he was “puzzled” by the response to a video name between Peng and IOC President Bach.

He mentioned that the IOC’s evaluation of Shuai was “one of the best proof we’ve got in the intervening time.”

“I might depend on the mixed judgment of colleagues,” Pound mentioned, including that it was “a dialog between 4 Olympians,” and that his colleagues would have seen if the dialog wasn’t “relaxed.”

Human Rights Watch China Director Sophie Richardson denounced the IOC’s position in collaborating with Chinese language authorities on Peng’s reappearance, whereas the top of the Girls’s Tennis Affiliation (WTA), Steve Simon, mentioned the IOC’s intervention is inadequate to allay issues about Peng’s security.

Peng’s case has additionally raised tough diplomatic questions for China, which is able to host the 2022 Winter Olympics between February four and 20.

Late final month, China’s Ministry of Overseas Affairs mentioned that the federal government hoped “malicious hypothesis” relating to Peng’s well-being and whereabouts would cease, including that her case shouldn’t be politicized.

Chinese language authorities haven’t acknowledged Peng’s allegations in opposition to Zhang, and there’s no indication an investigation is underway. It stays unclear if Peng has reported her allegations to the police.

Zhang has stored a low profile and light from public life since his retirement in 2018, and there’s no public info referring to his present whereabouts.

Earlier than retiring as vice premier, Zhang was the top of a Chinese language authorities working group for the Beijing Video games. Within the position, he inspected venues, visited athletes, unveiled official emblems and held conferences to coordinate preparation work.

Zhang beforehand met with IOC President Bach on at the least one event, with the 2 being photographed collectively shaking arms within the Chinese language capital in 2016.