Where is Peng Shuai?
It’s a question that needs to be asked – out loud, for everyone to hear – by the International Olympic Committee as it prepares to host the Winter Games in less than three months in Beijing. (More tennis news)
Peng is, after all, one of her own, a three-time Olympian and tennis pioneer who suddenly disappeared in the quagmire of what passes for justice in China after accusing a former senior government official of sexually assaulting her. .
China insisted it did not know what it was, a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry saying on Friday that the case was “not a diplomatic issue and I am not at current of the situation “.
An email released on behalf of Peng by state media – which sounded more like something a hostage could say under extreme duress – confirmed his initial claim that a former deputy prime minister and leading member of the The ruling Communist Party had forced her to have sex despite several refusals.
The IOC seems content to accept this ridiculous and clumsy ruse, unwilling to do anything to shake up the billion dollar party it will be hosting in Beijing and its surrounding areas from February 4.
The event is already shaping up to be a joyless affair due to strict COVID-19 protocols (understandable) and China’s desire to quell any sign of dissent (objectionable).
The IOC has hinted that it is working behind the scenes to determine Peng’s whereabouts, but apologize for being a little skeptical that the organization will even slightly counter the Chinese on any issues that may affect its results. .
“Experience shows that quiet diplomacy offers the best opportunity to find a solution to questions of this nature,” the IOC said in a statement.
“This explains why the IOC will not comment further at this point.”
Translation: IOC President Thomas Bach – who has shown no signs of backing down over concerns over China’s human rights record – hopes this problem will slowly go away without his golden group have to miss a single dinner.
After all, the IOC has already refused to oppose China’s systematic persecution of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the country, which some activists have called genocide.
Instead, Olympic bigwigs are talking nonsense about not wanting to get involved in politics.
Others have been complicit in their silence, including major sponsors and the Monaco-based World Olympians Association, which claims to be the voice of more than 100,000 current and former Olympic athletes around the world.
What does the group have to say about Peng, one of those athletes he supposedly works for “at all stages of their lives,” according to his own mission statement?
“The WOA has decided not to post any comment on Peng Shuai at this time,” she finally said on Friday after repeated requests throughout the week.
If the IOC was really concerned with anything other than clearing checks, it would threaten to pull the Winter Games from Beijing unless it, at the very least, allowed Peng to speak for herself – without quitting. ‘a government guard looks over his shoulder.
To be clear, it’s not too late in the game to take such drastic action.
With just a few months’ notice, the IOC hastily postponed the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no reason why the much smaller Winter Games should not be pushed back to 2023 and held somewhere other than China – perhaps spread across several countries that already have facilities in place.
The point is, the CIO can do whatever it wants.
He seems happy to do nothing.
Meanwhile, the tennis community has reacted with justifiable outrage at the plight of a popular and gritty player who overcame heart surgery at the age of 12 to become one of the world’s top doubles competitors, winning major titles at Wimbledon in 2013 and at Roland Garros in 2014.
She has also competed in three consecutive Olympics, starting with her matches in her home country in Beijing in 2008.
Although not officially retired, Peng, 35, has not been in a sanctioned game for almost two years.
This did not alleviate the growing chorus of concerns for his well-being.
“I am devastated and shocked,” Serena Williams wrote on Twitter.
“I hope she is safe and found as soon as possible. This must be investigated and we must not remain silent. Sending love to her and her family during this incredibly difficult time. “
Williams added a photo of a smiling Peng with the hashtag “#whereispengshuai”
Other current and former stars have tweeted similar sentiments, including Naomi Osaka, Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert.
“Yes, these accusations are very disturbing,” Evert wrote on Twitter. “I have known Peng since she was 14; we should all be concerned; This is serious; Where is she? Is she safe? Any information would be appreciated.
Showing much more backbone than the IOC, the WTA chief strongly condemned China’s actions – no small gesture given the group’s attempts to strengthen its presence in this lucrative market.
In light of China’s backlash when other sports figures, including those in the NBA, criticized its human rights record, the statement by WTA Chief Executive Officer Steve Simon will certainly lead to serious financial complaints for the women’s tennis tour.
That didn’t stop him from speaking out – boldly, without mince words.
“Peng Shuai, and all women, deserve to be heard, not censored,” said Simon.
“We commend Peng Shuai for his remarkable courage and strength in coming forward.”
He added: “We expect this issue to be addressed properly, which means that the allegations must be investigated thoroughly, fairly, transparently and without censorship. Our top and steadfast priority is health and the safety of our players. We speak out for justice. finished. “
The IOC is expected to make a similar statement, but we will not hold our breath.
Seriously, Mr. Bach, you don’t have a spine?