China on Tuesday stated the controversy surrounding Peng Shuai was being “maliciously” overvalued, after the Chinese tennis star made sexual assault claims towards one of many nation’s strongest politicians.
Peng, a Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion, was not seen for greater than two weeks after she made the accusations towards former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli.
The 35-year-old Peng reappeared in public for the primary time on the weekend when she was seen attending a Beijing tennis match.
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“I think some people should stop deliberately and maliciously hyping up, let alone politicise this issue,” stated overseas ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian in response to a query on whether or not the case affected China’s worldwide picture.
Beijing will host the Winter Olympics in February.
“I believe you have all seen that she recently attended some public events and had a video call with IOC president Thomas Bach,” Zhao added.
The remark was probably the most direct response from the Chinese authorities to Peng’s case.
Until Tuesday, Beijing had repeatedly disregarded questions on her whereabouts and welfare — calling them “not a diplomatic issue”.
Evidence of her claims have additionally been scrubbed from China’s extremely censored Internet.
The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has threatened to finish profitable contracts with China except it will get phrase of Peng’s security.
IOC name & criticism
Peng appeared in a 30-minute video name with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief on Sunday.
The organisation stated in a press release that throughout the name, “Peng Shuai thanked the IOC for its concern about her well-being.”
“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,” it stated.
Earlier Sunday, Peng was seen attending a Beijing tennis match, in official pictures of the occasion.
But human rights teams and sporting authorities abroad have continued to voice concern about Peng and whether or not native authorities will act on her allegations.
“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 WTA stated, when requested in regards to the IOC name.
Human Rights Watch additionally slammed the IOC and referred to as for them to elucidate how the video name with Peng had been organised.
“The IOC has vaulted itself from silence about Beijing’s abysmal human rights record to active collaboration with Chinese authorities in undermining freedom of speech and disregarding alleged sexual assault,” stated Yaqiu Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch.
“The IOC appears to prize its relationship with a major human rights violator over the rights and safety of Olympic athletes.”
Peng, a two-time Grand Slam doubles champion, alleged earlier this month that Zhang, now in his 70s, “forced” her into intercourse throughout an on-off relationship spanning a number of years.
Following a worldwide outcry, together with from tennis superstars and the United Nations, Chinese state media reporters have launched a flurry of footage purporting to indicate all is properly with Peng.
Peng’s claims towards Zhang have been the primary time China’s #MeToo motion has touched the best echelons of the ruling Communist Party.