Washington [US], November 28 (ANI): Despite a video call between International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach and Tennis star Peng Shuai, the Women Tennis Association (WTA) remains deeply concerned that the Chinese player is "not free from censorship or coercion."
In an email statement on Saturday, the WTA says CEO Steve Simon has attempted to reach out to Peng "via various communication channels," including two emails "to which it was clear her responses were influenced by others."
Simon has therefore "decided not to re-engage via email until he was satisfied her responses were her own, and not those of her censors," CNN reported.
"The WTA remains concerned about her ability to communicate freely, openly, and directly," the statement concludes.
Peng, 35, went missing on November 2 after she said on Chinese social media that she had been sexually assaulted and forced into a sexual relationship with Zhang Gaoli, 75, who was China's vice premier from 2013 to 2018.
The IOC last week said in a statement that its president, Thomas Bach, had a 30-minute video call with three-time Olympian Peng Shuai, joined by a Chinese sports official and an IOC official.
The statement said that, during the call, Peng appeared to be "doing fine" and "relaxed," and said she "would like to have her privacy respected."
The IOC did not explain how the video call with Peng had been organized, given the difficulties other concerned parties have had reaching her.
On November 18, the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) received a statement purporting to be from Peng, recanting her abuse claim. In response, the IOC said that it was "encouraged by assurance that she is safe."
On November 19 and 20, photos and videos of Peng appearing in her home, in a restaurant, and at a youth tennis event in Beijing emerged on Twitter accounts affiliated with government-run media. (ANI)