IOC President Thomas Bach could not escape repeated questions about Peng Shuai and the issues raised from two video calls the IOC had with her.
The calls were intended to convey that Peng was safe despite his absence from the public eye after the three-time Olympic player accused a top Chinese politician of sexual assault nearly six weeks ago.
Questions continue to be raised, even overshadowing a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics called for by the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia and Lithuania.
Bach has admitted that Peng’s situation is “fragile.” He is in the midst of three days of executive meetings in Switzerland focused on the opening of the Olympics in Beijing on February 4. But many questions at the daily press conferences are about Peng.
“You have to respect this person,” Bach said Wednesday. “And in such a fragile situation (that) Peng Shuai is in, you have to do your best to build trust. To enter into a human relationship. And this, as you can judge, is not easy in a video call. “
Bach said the IOC initiated both calls with Chinese sports officials. He said the IOC was willing to take more calls and did not rule out an “independent” party involved. Tennis legend Martina Navratilova was suggested to Bach.
Bach said Peng’s wishes must be respected and he said she had asked for privacy.
The IOC does not provide transcripts of the calls and Bach has never mentioned her sexual assault allegations against former Politburo Standing Committee member Zhang Gaoli.
Bach said: “Why don’t you respect Peng Shuai and let her decide where her priorities are.
He is said to be referring to the IOC member from China, Li Lingwei,
“During the calls, we all shared the impression that we couldn’t feel she was under pressure,” Bach said.
“Many people say that there are doubts here and there,” Bach added, “It is easy to have doubts. The doubts you may have always and about everything. ”
Teng Biao, a Chinese-born human rights lawyer living in the United States, makes it clear that Peng is not free to speak.
“Of course, Peng Shuai is not safe,” Teng said in a recent interview on CNN. “What we do know (via video) is that she is still alive, she is still in China. But she is definitely unsafe, unwell and completely controlled by the Chinese government and no one knows her. Where is he being held. And so the athletes, if they go to China – no one can guarantee their safety.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/asia/china/peng-shuai-ioc-china-thomas-bach-b1972611.html Even under boycott, IOC still questions Peng Shuai