Comment: An unworldly action by the IOC


Status: 11/22/2021 5:26 p.m.

China’s state media are attempting a video offensive to convey that everything is okay with the missing tennis player Peng. It is scandalous that the IOC can also be involved in this.

A comment from Steffen Wurzel, ARD Studio Shanghai

It has been known for years that the International Olympic Committee takes a cuddle course with the Chinese state and party leadership. But with what the IOC achieved last weekend, it surpasses itself.

Anyone who has read or heard even a minimal amount of news in the past few days knows the insane pressure Peng Shuai must be under. Earlier this month she made a serious allegation online that she was raped a few years ago by former Chinese Vice Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli.

Peng Shuais Online Post deleted

The Chinese professional tennis athlete has thus crossed an absolute red line: Because attacking leading top cadres of the communist government is taboo in the People’s Republic. Accordingly, Peng Shuai’s online posting was deleted after around half an hour, and her social media accounts were frozen. Nothing and no one in China has reported the case since then. Peng Shuai was silenced by the state and party leadership.

Now none other than IOC boss Thomas Bach has agreed to a 30-minute video session with the Chinese tennis player. That is scandalous, because, according to all that is known, he had to assume that Peng can never express himself in her current situation of her own free will and without pressure.

In recent years it has become known again and again that China’s security authorities are putting their own citizens under pressure in order to extort statements and alleged confessions. Non-governmental organizations repeatedly draw attention to this practice. That the IOC and Thomas Bach ignored that and instead let themselves be harnessed by China’s state propaganda is scandalous.

China’s broad campaign

China’s state media abroad have been trying for days to use a wide-ranging campaign to convey that everything is okay with Peng Shuai. Obviously the opposite is true. It is obvious that Peng is under the direct or indirect supervision of the Chinese state security after her outrageous rape allegations against the former top politician.

Courageous WTA approach

It is good that the women’s tennis world association WTA has been vehemently drawing attention to this for days. The fact that the WTA openly threatens to no longer host tennis tournaments in China in the future and thus to forego a lot of money is consistent, courageous and remarkable.

The International Olympic Committee is doing just the opposite. With its most recent action it has once again underlined that it is completely naive and unworldly – and also absolutely uncritical of China’s communist government.

Editor’s note

Comments generally reflect the opinion of the respective author and not that of the editors.

Comment on the Peng Shuai case: The IOC is ridiculous – and complicit

Steffen Wurzel, ARD Shanghai, 22.11.2021 · 16:56

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