IOC defends ‘silent diplomacy’ in Peng Shuai case

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“Everyone should focus on the well-being of Peng Shuai and try to use it for some other purpose,” Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr., IOC member and chairman of the Coordinating Commission for Beijing 2022, said in a virtual press conference on Tuesday. Should not do.” ,

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“Don’t write it in silent diplomacy, it’s a very powerful tool and we plan to stick to that,” he said.

After the sports star, concerns arose about Peng’s safety publicly accused Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, a former top Communist Party official, deleted a social media post on November 2 forcing her to have sex at her home three years ago.
One of China’s most recognizable athletes, Peng, was immediately shunned by censorship and disappeared from public view for more than two weeks.

In response, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) announced that it would suspend all tournaments in China, including Hong Kong.


The IOC took a different approach, issuing a statement on 21 November saying that Peng was “doing well” and was “comfortable” during a video call with its president, Thomas Bach, but did not make the video publicly available. Got it done

Human Rights Watch China director Sophie Richardson has condemned the IOC, saying it helped organize Peng’s reappearance with Chinese officials. WTA chief Steve Simon also said the IOC’s intervention was insufficient to address concerns about Peng’s safety.

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IOC spokesman Mark Adams told reporters on Tuesday that the organization had called with Peng twice and had agreed to meet him in person in China. He also added that the organization has a “complete roadmap to at least get in touch and see where it is.”

Asked by reporters why he hasn’t spoken to anyone from the tennis community or friends, Adams said, “I really don’t know.”

“Clearly, in these personal situations, it’s not up to me,” he said. “Even if I knew, it would not be up to me to publicly respond like this at a press conference.”

Chinese officials have not acknowledged Peng’s allegations against Zhang – who has faded from public life since his retirement in 2018 – and there is no indication that an investigation is underway. It is not clear whether Peng has reported his allegations to the police.

Late last month, China’s foreign ministry said the government hoped to stop “malicious speculation” about Peng’s well-being and whereabouts, adding that his case should not be politicised.

Beijing Games to move forward

With only two months until the Beijing Winter Olympics started, Samaranch was also adamant that the newly discovered Omicron coronavirus variant would not derail its opening.

“We have learned over the past three years that in a post-COVID world, we have to be resilient, and you have to be able to adapt rapidly to changing circumstances,” Samaranch said. He added that Beijing’s organizers “have prepared for any potential contingency … the system can withstand most everything that may happen in and around the world.”

The IOC said it had not yet decided whether tickets for the Games would be held for home spectators.

As far as the United States’ decision to diplomatically boycott the 2022 Beijing Olympics, Adams said, it is “a political decision” and the aim of the Games is to “bring the world together”.

under exclusionWhite House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday that the US would not send an official US delegation to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing as a statement against China’s “ongoing genocide in Xinjiang and crimes against humanity”.

However, American athletes will still be allowed to participate in the Games.

“It’s a political decision that we respect for their right to make that decision,” Adams said. “But it also shows that they respect an athlete’s right to participate in the Olympic Games and I think that’s very important.”

The Beijing Games are to be held from February 4 to 20 next year.


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