“What the IOC has established is that low-key, low-key diplomacy makes you better than clashing cymbals,” Pound said. “It’s not the way you deal with any country, certainly not with China.”
It is not known how Bach managed to organize a call with Peng when the WTA Tour and others fell through, although the presence on call of IOC member from China, Li Lingwei, offered a tantalizing clue. .
“The IOC has moved from silence about Beijing’s catastrophic human rights record to active collaboration with Chinese authorities to undermine freedom of expression and ignore allegations of sexual assault,” said Yaqiu Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The IOC appears to privilege its relationship with a major human rights violator to the detriment of the rights and safety of Olympic athletes.”
Teng Biao, a lawyer and prominent human rights activist who was arrested in 2008 for criticizing China’s preparations for this year’s Summer Olympics, said it was illogical that Peng herself organized a call with Bach. In a telephone interview from his home in New Jersey, where he now lives in exile, Teng suggested that authorities in Beijing had arranged the appeal with Bach rather than risking a call between Peng and a critic like the WTA chief executive. Tour, Steve Simon, who publicly urged China to allow Peng to move and speak freely.
Regarding the Beijing Olympics, Teng said, “The IOC and Bach are not neutral.
For Bach, a pragmatist, there was little room for maneuver once China secured the rights to host the 2022 Winter Games six years ago, amid a shortage of suitable candidate cities. The Olympics generate 91% of the organization’s revenue, so the IOC has long avoided doing anything that could endanger those billions of dollars in revenue.
“Thomas Bach is above all about protecting the Olympic Games,” said Adam Pengilly, a former IOC member, explaining how Bach, a former gold medal fencer, has acted to secure the future of the Games since his accession to the Olympic Games. presidency in 2013.