The world agency said that the phone was designed to alleviate concerns about Peng’s safety after allegations of sexual assault.
The association stated that the video call between Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai and the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) did not resolve or alleviate the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) concerns about her health.
A WTA spokesperson said in an email on Monday that seeing the former doubles world number one Peng in a recent video is positive, but people still worry about the star’s health and whether she is being censored or coerced.
When asked about the call with the International Olympic Committee, a WTA spokeswoman said: “This video does not change our request for a full, fair and transparent investigation of her allegations of sexual assault without review. This is Caused our initial anxiety.”
The International Olympic Committee said in a statement that Peng had a 30-minute conversation with its chairman Thomas Bach on Sunday, during which she said that her home in Beijing was safe and hoped that her privacy would be respected for the time being.
Nearly three weeks ago, after she accused China’s former deputy prime minister Zhang Gaoli of sexually assaulting her, Peng’s whereabouts became an issue of international concern.
On November 2, Peng posted on Chinese social media that Zhang forced her to have sex. Later, the two had an intermittent relationship. The post was deleted about half an hour after it was published.
When asked about these concerns at a regular briefing on Monday, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian said that this was not an issue of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but pointed out that Peng had recently participated in some public events.
Photos and videos released by Chinese official media reporters and event organizers show that she did attend the dinner with friends on Saturday and the children’s tennis tournament in Beijing on Sunday. But they hardly quell their worries.
Global human rights organizations and other organizations called for a boycott of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing on the grounds of China’s human rights record. WTA also threatened to withdraw the event from China because of this.
Recently, Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of the official media “Global Times”, posted videos and photos of Peng Liyuan in Beijing on Twitter, and said on Twitter on Monday that her presence should be enough to alleviate “those who really care about (Peng Shuai’s safety).
“But for those who aim to attack the Chinese system and boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics, no matter how many facts there are, it will not work for them,” he said.
For those who really care about Peng Shuai’s safety, her appearance in the past few days is enough to relieve them or eliminate most of their worries. But for those who are trying to attack the Chinese system and boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics, no matter how many facts there are, it will not work for them.
— Hu Xijin Hu Xijin (@HuXijin_GT) November 22, 2021
Neither Zhang nor the Chinese government commented on Peng’s allegations. The State Council Information Office of China did not immediately respond to a request for comment issued on Monday.
The United States and the United Kingdom called on China to provide evidence of Peng’s whereabouts. The French Foreign Minister said on Sunday that the Chinese authorities should let Peng speak publicly.
“I only expect one thing: she can talk,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told LCI TV, adding that if China does not clarify the situation, there may be unclear diplomatic consequences. His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the IOC statement.
Current and former tennis players, including Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams and Billie Jane King, also joined calls seeking to confirm her safety, using the social media hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai?
Novak Djokovic, the world’s number one in men’s singles, said that unless the “terrible” situation is resolved, it would be strange to hold a game in China.
The topic has been banned from discussion on the heavily censored Internet in China, and the comment section of all remaining posts on Peng’s official Weibo account and the comment section of many old posts by users about her have been locked.
Some Weibo users have found a way to bypass censorship by posting comments on accounts belonging to foreign tennis players or sports commentators. While some expressed gratitude to show up again over the weekend, others said they were skeptical.
“I hope it was not staged,” said one.