According to the IOC, Peng Shuai Thanked for Concerns About Her Well-Being and Affirmed She Was Safe, Well, and Living in Beijing | Photo: Greg Martin / Disclosure / COI

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been accused by activists of promoting a “publicity stunt” with the video call between Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai and IOC President Thomas Bach on Sunday.

The lack of information on the tennis player’s fate since she accused a senior Chinese Communist Party official of sexual harassment has raised concerns in the international community and sparked a social media campaign. these last weeks.

After the video call, the IOC said the tennis player was “safe and healthy” and wanted “her privacy to be respected” for the time being.

Nikki Dryden, a former Canadian Olympic swimmer and human rights lawyer, described the IOC’s handling of the Peng Shuai case as a “media exercise” to defuse threats of a diplomatic boycott ahead of the Winter Games, which will be held in China next year. .

“I’m very relieved that she’s alive, but the release of this Proof of Life video is really worrying from a protection standpoint,” said Dryden, as reported by The Guardian newspaper.

“It seems to me very political that [o presidente do COI Thomas] Bach has that connection with the chair of the Athletes Committee – which is probably quite appropriate – and then with the IOC member from China. This is not a protection call at all, “said the former athlete, saying the call should have been made by an official responsible for protecting the tennis player,” and not as a publicity stunt.

“Nothing in the press release issued by the IOC assures me that it is safe, that it is not retaliating or being coerced,” Dryden added.

The director of the non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch in Australia, Elaine Person, also criticized the IOC. “Frankly, it’s a shame to see the IOC participate in the Chinese government’s farce that everything is fine and normal for Peng Shuai. This is clearly not the case. Otherwise, why would the Chinese government censor Peng Shuai on the Internet in China and not allow free speaking with the media or the public, ”he asked.

Over the weekend, people connected to Chinese state media shared footage of Peng Shuai in an attempt to show that she was okay, but the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) said the records did not prove the condition. tennis player safety.