Senior IOC official shoots back at criticisms of video call with Peng Shuai

A top official of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has fired back at critics who disapproved of the manner in which the IOC president handled a video conference call with Chinese player Peng Shuai, who's disappearance was a global concern.

Shuai accused retired Vice Premier of China Zhang Gaoli of sexually assaulting her three years ago, and she was not seen or heard from after the allegations about three weeks ago. Her sudden disappearance led to many inquiring about her safety and well-being, with Shuai eventually resurfacing and having a 30-minute video call with IOC president Thomas Bach this week.

However, the IOC has been heavily criticized about the nonchalant manner in which they handled the interview, leading former IOC Vice president Dick Pound to push back at the criticisms.

"What the IOC established is that quiet and discreet diplomacy gets you better results than clashing cymbals," said Pound. "That’s not the way you deal with any country, certainly not with China.

“To accuse the IOC of being complicit with a Chinese propaganda effort built around Peng is complete nonsense."

Pound, who is the IOC's longest-serving active member, defended his organization, claiming no one else was able to get in touch with the Chinese doubles Grand Slam champion.

“First and foremost, a lot of people around the world were concerned that something might have happened to Peng," added Pound. "The IOC was the only organization able to get through to her and alleviate some of those concerns.

“That was a great step forward, it’s step one – you’re not going to resolve the harassment allegations in the course of a 30-minute phone call without the other party being there but we know that she is well and healthy and seems in good spirits and is spending time with family and friends.”

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WTA Peng Shuai

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