China accuses 'certain people' of 'malicious hyping' over concerns for Peng Shuai as calls grow for an Olympic boycott

Advertisement
China accuses 'certain people' of 'malicious hyping' over concerns for Peng Shuai as calls grow for an Olympic boycott
Shuai Peng.Getty/Wang He
  • China has accused "certain people" of "malicious hyping" over continued concerns about Peng Shuai's wellbeing.
  • Tennis star Shuai reemerged over the weekend after going missing for over two weeks.

China's foreign ministry has said that "certain people" should stop the "malicious hyping" and "politicization" of Peng Shuai as the saga of her disappearance continues.

The Chinese tennis player went missing earlier this month after making allegations that she was sexually abused by a former high ranking Chinese official.

She resurfaced late last week when a number of images and videos of her were published by Chinese state media outlets. This included footage of her at a dinner with friends, and pictures of her attending a children's tennis tournament in Beijing.

Advertisement

That same day, she was shown in a video call with International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach, in which Bach said she seemed well and relaxed.

However, soon afterwards the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) said the call did not "address or alleviate" concerns about her wellbeing.

China accuses 'certain people' of 'malicious hyping' over concerns for Peng Shuai as calls grow for an Olympic boycott
The IOC said on Sunday that its leaders spoke to Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, who hasn't been seen in the public eye since November 2.IOC/Greg Martin

While Peng has now been seen in public, fears remain in many corners that she is still not entirely safe, and may not be able to speak freely.

Advertisement

As well as the WTA, Amnesty International has also expressed doubt over Peng's wellbeing, with Alkan Akad, a China researcher for the organization telling Reuters that the IOC was entering "dangerous waters."

"In the past we have seen various similar cases where people had no option but to say what they had been told to."

China, however, has rubbished such assertions.

Advertisement

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a press briefing on Tuesday that Peng's safety and wellbeing is not a diplomatic matter.

"I believe everyone will have seen she has recently attended some public activities and also held a video call with IOC President Bach. I hope certain people will cease malicious hyping, let alone politicization," Zhao said, as reported by Reuters.

"This is not a diplomatic matter."

Advertisement

US plans diplomatic boycott of China's Winter Olympics

China accuses 'certain people' of 'malicious hyping' over concerns for Peng Shuai as calls grow for an Olympic boycott
President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill in the State Dining Room of the White House on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021.(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The United States is reportedly planning a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Winter Games in Beijing in a protest at human rights abuses.

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that a formal recommendation to boycott the games had been presented to President Joe Biden. It also reported that he is expected to approve it before the end of the month.

Advertisement

If the US does boycott the games, US athletes would be permitted to take part as normal, but there would be no accompanying political delegation of officials and politicians.

The US is not the only country threatening such action, with Australia also considering a boycott.

China accuses 'certain people' of 'malicious hyping' over concerns for Peng Shuai as calls grow for an Olympic boycott
Biden met virtually with Xi Jinping on Sunday but the Olympics were reportedly not discussed.Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

The Australian government said on Monday that Chinese authorities must answer serious concerns about Peng Shuai's welfare.

Advertisement

"It is understandable that many people, including in the international sporting community, have raised serious concerns about Ms Peng's welfare," an Australian government spokesperson said on Monday, as reported by the Guardian.

"This is a matter that needs to be responded to with transparency and accountability."

{{}}