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‘Personal meeting’ with Peng Shuai agreed upon, says IOC

dpa
London
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) says it has spoken again with tennis player Peng Shuai as it reacted to the WTA’s suspension of tournaments in China.
WTA chairman and chief executive Steve Simon has taken a strong stance against the tour’s biggest market since former world doubles number one Peng made an allegation of sexual assault against a senior Chinese official on social media last month that was swiftly removed. The WTA has been unable to gain proof that Peng is free of censorship and coercion, while Simon’s call for the 35-year-old’s claim to be fully investigated appears to have fallen on deaf ears.
The IOC was criticised for saying after a video call with Peng on November 21 that she was “safe and well” despite offering no evidence that she was talking freely or addressing the sexual assault allegation. The idea of a boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February has been floated, but the IOC again stated its belief that its approach of “quiet diplomacy” was the best one. The organisation said in a statement: “We share the same concern as many other people and organisations about the well-being and safety of Peng Shuai.
“This is why, just yesterday, an IOC team held another video call with her. We have offered her wide-ranging support, will stay in regular touch with her, and have already agreed on a personal meeting in January. “There are different ways to achieve her well-being and safety. We have taken a very human and person-centred approach to her situation.
Since she is a three-time Olympian, the IOC is addressing these concerns directly with Chinese sports organisations. “We are using ‘quiet diplomacy’ which, given the circumstances and based on the experience of governments and other organisations, is indicated to be the most promising way to proceed effectively in such humanitarian matters.

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