Peng Shuai news: IOC warned against meeting the Chinese player at the Beijing Winter Olympics

Peng Shuai

The Peng Shuai mystery continues as she’s due to meet with International Olympic Committee officials in Beijing during the 2022 Winter Olympics, but the organisation have been warned against it.

Peng went missing in November 2021 after she made an allegation of sexual assault towards former Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli on Chinese social media site Weibo, only for her to reappear again a few weeks later in a virtual call with IOC President Thomas Bach.

She has since denied she made the claims of sexual assault and although the Chinese government have made assurances that the tennis star is safe and well, many people, including the WTA who suspended all their events in the country as a result of Peng’s disappearance, are still concerned for her wellbeing and are questioning whether she is being controlled by the Chinese Communist Party government.

Bach is due to meet with Peng, and the vice-President of the Chinese Olympic Committee during the Winter Olympics, but Julie Ann Rivers-Cochran, executive director of The Army of Survivors which was set up following the Larry Nasser sexual abuse scandal in US Gymnastics, has warned that this would be an “inappropriate move.”

“Not only is it a terrible idea, it is also a dangerous idea – it is a highly inappropriate move that fails to consider the effects of trauma and will ultimately be retraumatising,” Rivers-Cochran explained.

“To think that Peng Shuai has the right or the ability to speak freely to consent to this request without pressure is misguided at best, I think it is a poor move from the IOC as it perpetuates their inaction over her initial disclosure.

“Even if a survivor retracts, there is usually a reason behind it, a threat etc – the IOC are not considering the effects of control around sexual assault.”

The Peng Shuai situation was even highlighted at this year’s Australian Open after fans were told to remove banners and not wear t-shirts which had ‘Where is Peng Shuai?’ written across them, before the tournament organisers u-turned on this decision and allowed fans to wear the shirts which supported the player.