Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai is home safe after vanishing from the public eye almost three weeks ago after accusing a high-ranking official of sexual assault, according to the International Olympics Committee.

IOC President Thomas Bach said Sunday that he had a 30-minute video call with the three-time Olympian, during which she said that she was “safe and well” at home in Beijing and wanted “her privacy respected.”

“That is why she prefers to spend her time with friends and family right now,” read the IOC statement, accompanied by a photo of Bach and Peng on a video screen. “Nevertheless, she will continue to be involved in tennis, the sport she loves so much.”

Emma Terho, the Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, sat in on the call and said Peng “appeared to be relaxed.”

Peng, 35, was last seen publicly on Nov. 2, shortly before she accused former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, 75, of forcing her into sex three times at his home. The pair allegedly had a previous consensual relationship, but were no longer together that night.

“I couldn’t describe how disgusted I was, and how many times I asked myself am I still a human?” she wrote in a now-deleted post on Weibo. “I feel like a walking corpse. Every day I was acting, which person is the real me?”

On Saturday, Chinese state media published video ostensibly showing Peng at a restaurant in Beijing, but World Tennis Association President Steve Simon called the footage “insufficient.”

“While it is positive to see her, it remains unclear if she is free and able to make decisions and take actions on her own, without coercion or external interference,” he said in a statement.

“As I have stated from the beginning, I remain concerned about Peng Shuai’s health and safety and that the allegation of sexual assault is being censored and swept under the rug. I have been clear about what needs to happen and our relationship with China is at a crossroads.”

The IOC’s statement Sunday made no mention of the sexual assault allegations.

The United Nations has called for an investigation “with full transparency” into Peng’s allegations against Zhang.

Peng’s disappearance drew public concern from some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams.

A spokesperson for the World Tennis Association told the Daily News that it was “good to see Peng Shuai in recent videos, but they don’t alleviate or address the WTA’s concern about her well-being and ability to communicate without censorship or coercion.”

“This video does not change our call for a full, fair and transparent investigation, without censorship, into her allegation of sexual assault, which is the issue that gave rise to our initial concern,” the spokesperson said Sunday.

———

©2021 New York Daily News. Visit at nydailynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Copyright 2021 Tribune Content Agency.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. No vulgar, racist, sexist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, not personal attacks or ad hominem criticisms.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Be civil. Don't threaten. Don't lie. Don't bait. Don't degrade others.
No trolling. Stay on topic.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
No deceptive names. Apparently misleading usernames are not allowed.
Say it once. No repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link for abusive posts.

Thank you for reading!

Already a member?

Login Now
Click Here!

Currently a News-Post subscriber?

Activate your membership at no additional charge.
Click Here!

Need more information?

Learn about the benefits of membership.
Click Here!

Ready to join?

Choose the membership plan that fits your needs.
Click Here!