China’s Foreign Ministry says Peng Shuai case should not be politicized

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian declined to comment on whether the Chinese government would launch an investigation into Peng’s sexual assault allegations against former deputy prime minister Zhang Gaoli. He reiterated his earlier remarks to reporters, saying that Peng’s position was “not a diplomatic issue.”

“I believe everyone has also seen her attending some public events recently video call With the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) (Thomas) Bach,” Zhao said. When asked by a journalist whether Peng’s case would negatively affect China’s image, Zhao said: “I think That some people should stop malicious propaganda and not politicize it. Issue.”
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His comments are similar to those of the editor of a major Chinese state-run newspaper on Tuesday. Hu Xijin, editor of the Global Times’ nationalist tabloid, wrote on Twitter: “Some Western forces are forcing Peng Shuai and an institution, forcing them to help China sabotage the system.”

Peng, a two-time Grand Slam doubles champion and one of China’s top tennis players, publicly accused Zhang of forcing sex at his home, according to a screenshot of a social media post deleted on November 2. Is.

Her disappearance from public life for more than two weeks following the allegation caused international concern with the Women’s Tennis Federation and. United Nations Demanded an inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse.

WTA chief Steve Simon has threatened to pull out of China until Peng is held accountable and his allegations are not investigated.

IOC President Bacchu on Sunday made a video phone call With Peng, Chinese sports official Li Lingwei and Athletes Commission chair Emma Tero.

The IOC did not give Granthshala access to the video, but said in a statement that Peng insisted she was “safe and well, staying at her home in Beijing, but would like to respect her privacy at this time.” “

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The call, which reportedly lasted 30 minutes, appears to be Peng’s first known direct contact with officials outside China since the allegations were made.

Amnesty International said the IOC was “entering dangerous waters” with the video call.

“They should be extremely careful not to participate in any whitewashing of potential human rights violations,” said Amnesty’s China researcher Alkan Acad.

The WTA also reiterated its demand for an investigation after the call.

“It’s nice to see Peng Shuai in recent videos, but they do not reduce or address the WTA’s concern about his well-being and ability to communicate without censorship or coercion,” the spokesperson said in a statement to Granthshala.

“This video does not replace our call for a full, fair and transparent investigation into her sexual harassment allegations, without censorship, which is the issue that sparked our initial concern.”

Chinese officials have not acknowledged Peng’s allegations against Zhang, and there is no indication that an investigation is underway. It is not clear whether Peng has reported his allegations to the police.

Zhang has kept a low profile and disappeared from public life since his retirement in 2018, and there is no public information regarding his whereabouts.

In China, senior party leaders like Zhang are usually beyond public disdain even when they retire. As deputy prime minister, Zhang served with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the Communist Party’s seven-member Polituro Standing Committee, the country’s highest leadership body.

Granthshala’s Beijing bureau contributed reporting.


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