Peng Shuai, the Chinese tennis player whose well-being became a concern after she accused a politician of sexual assault, made a video call today with Olympic officials.
The IOC announced Peng spoke for 30 minutes today and confirmed that she is "safe and well" at home in Beijing. They added a photo from the apparent call, which shows IOC President Thomas Bach speaking with Peng via video.
IOC: Peng Shuai says she is "safe and well" in new video
Peng is said to have thanked the IOC for their concern and told them that she wants her "privacy respected at this time." She added that she is spending "her time with friends and family." There is no specific mention of her earlier allegations in the press release.
As for Peng's future in sports, the IOC statement added that she "will continue to be involved in tennis, the sport she loves so much."
Joining the committee president and Peng on the call were IOC official Emma Terho and IOC member Li Lingwei.
Per the release, Terho said that Peng was "doing fine" and "appeared to be relaxed." As well, the IOC president plans to be in China in January and said Peng, during the call, agreed to dine with him then.
The image of the call, seen above, shows Peng smiling before a background of stuffed animals and an athletic portrait. The three IOC figures are seen in smaller boxes above Peng.
It's the clearest sighting of Peng yet since early November. Concern for her well-being became a story around the world after she reportedly wrote on social media of sexual assault claims against the former high-ranking Chinese politician Zhang Gaoli.
The post was removed — and censored — soon after and Peng hadn't been seen in public since the Nov. 2 accusation. Naturally, this led to calls for China to confirm her safety, and it now appears she is OK.
However, some are still skeptical of the IOC's update, as it doesn't quote Peng directly and she could be in danger or facing threats despite the video call.
We're hoping the incident has a just and safe conclusion for Peng.