Human Rights Watch accuses IOC of sportswashing in Peng Shuai case


During a digital press convention Tuesday, HRW China Director Sophie Richardson denounced the IOC’s function in collaborating with Chinese authorities on Peng Shuai’s reappearance.

“In 2008 we had been hopeful that they [the IOC] would present some backbone and oblige Chinese authorities to dwell as much as some fundamental guarantees,” mentioned Richardson, referring to when China first staged the Olympic Games.
“I almost think fondly back to those days because, if nothing else, the IOC has shown in the last few days just how desperate it is to keep a Games on the rails no matter the human cost,” added Richardson, referring to subsequent 12 months’s Beijing Winter Olympics. Beijing is the primary metropolis to host each the Summer and Winter Games.

On Sunday, the IOC mentioned in an announcement that its president, Thomas Bach, had a 30-minute video name with three-time Olympian Peng Shuai, joined by a Chinese sports activities official and an IOC official.

The assertion mentioned that, through the name, Peng seemed to be “doing fine” and “relaxed,” and mentioned she “would like to have her privacy respected.” The IOC didn’t clarify how the video name with Peng had been organized.

‘Big shock’

HRW additionally prompt the IOC ought to have completed extra to guard the Chinese Olympian athlete.

“it’s a whole different order of magnitude to see Thomas Bach, in a photograph with a woman, Peng Shuai, under intense pressure, we can reasonably assume from other cases, to walk back her claims of sexual assault, rather than figuring doing everything in his and the organization’s power to call that out and make sure that she is afforded the support and investigation and prosecution that may well be warranted,” Richardson mentioned.

In response, the IOC instructed CNN that the “Olympic Games are the only event that brings the entire world together in peaceful competition.” “They are the most powerful symbol of unity in all our diversity that the world knows,” mentioned the IOC assertion.

“In our fragile world, the power of sport to bring the whole world together, despite all the existing differences, gives us all hope for a better future.

“Given the varied participation within the Olympic Games, the IOC should stay impartial on all world political points.

“At all times, the IOC recognises and upholds human rights as enshrined in both the Fundamental Principles of the Olympic Charter and in its Code of Ethics. 

“We are accountable for guaranteeing the respect of the Olympic Charter with regard to the Olympic Games and take this accountability very significantly.

“All interested parties have to provide assurances that the principles of the Olympic Charter will be respected in the context of the Games, and both the Japanese and Chinese organisers have done so for the recent Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and upcoming Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.”

Ability to report in China

Concerns had been raised through the HRW press convention relating to the flexibility to report in China and the way that would impression Peng’s ongoing scenario.

“It is very hard to report on what is happening in China,” the Director of Global Initiatives for Human Rights Watch, Minky Worden, mentioned.

“Chinese officials are blocking not just a United Nations backed investigation into human rights violations, but also the journalists the world relies on to reveal new abuses.

“So, it was an enormous shock on Sunday to see the International Olympic Committee president and senior officers interview Chinese three time Olympian and former world primary doubles tennis participant Peng Shuai by video,” Worden added.

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 allegations were censored in mainland China. CNN’s broadcast signal was also censored during Peng reporting.

Earlier on Tuesday, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the government hoped “malicious hypothesis” about Peng’s well-being and whereabouts would stop, and that her case should not be politicized.

Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry, declined to comment on whether the Chinese government will launch an investigation into Peng’s sexual assault allegations against former Vice Premier Zhang. He repeated previous comments made to reporters, saying Peng’s situation “was not a diplomatic problem.”

Peng, a two-time grand slam doubles champion and one of China’s top tennis players, publicly accused Zhang of coercing her into sex at his home, according to screenshots of a since-deleted social media post dated November 2.

Her disappearance from public life for more than two weeks following the accusation prompted an outpouring of international concern, with the Women’s Tennis Association and the United Nations calling for an investigation into her allegations of sexual assault.

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