Sports World

Peng Shuai: Chinese tennis professional claims to be ‘safe’ in video call with IOC chief

Peng Shuai, the 35-year-old Chinese tennis professional, said she was “safe and well” following speculation about her apparent disappearance, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Sunday.

Peng had a 30-minute video call with IOC chief Thomas Bach, who was joined by Emma Terho, the head of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, and an IOC member in China Li Lingwei “who has known Peng Shuai for many years.”

“She explained that she is safe and well, living at her home in Beijing, but would like to have her privacy respected at this time,” the IOC said in a statement.

“I was relieved to see that Peng Shuai was doing fine, which was our main concern. She appeared to be relaxed,” IOC’s Emma Terho was quoted as saying.

“I offered her our support and to stay in touch at any time of her convenience, which she obviously appreciated.”

The tennis player also thanked the IOC “for its concern about her well-being.”

Peng’s whereabouts have been a matter of growing international concern. She had not been seen or heard from since accusing a former Chinese vice premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault in a social media post on November 2. Her social media post was quickly deleted and account on the microblogging Sina Weibo platform was made unavailable.

The Chinese government has refused to comment on the accusations or Peng’s location. When asked, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters that the issue was “not a diplomatic question and I’m not aware of the situation.”