(The Guardian) The International Olympic Committee has said it had a conversation with the Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai last week and plans to meet her in Beijing during next month’s Winter Olympics.
Peng’s situation became a matter of concern in November when the former women’s No 1 doubles player alleged that a former Chinese vice premier, Zhang Gaoli, had sexually assaulted her in the past. After that post, she was absent from public view for nearly three weeks.
An IOC spokesperson said: “Since the first call that the IOC held with Peng Shuai on 21 November 2021, the IOC team has kept in touch with her and had a number of conversations with her, the last one just the past week.”
The Winter Games opening ceremony takes place in China on 4 February.
Last month Peng said she had never accused anyone of sexually assaulting her, adding that a social media post she had made had been misunderstood. Zhang has not commented on the matter.
Peng retracted her allegations in an interview with Singapore media outlet Lianhe Zaobao, a Chinese-language publication under the state-controlled Singapore Press Holdings Limited.
“First, I need to stress one point that is extremely important, I have never said or written that anyone has sexually assaulted me, I have to clearly stress this point,” Peng said in a video posted by Lianhe Zaobao. She said her deleted Weibo post was a “private matter”.
On Tuesday, Australian Open organisers reversed the tournament’s ban on “Where is Peng Shuai?” T-shirts being worn following widespread backlash to the tournament’s claim that they constituted “commercial or political” material.