Chinese tennis star says she is safe in video call with Olympic official -IOC

International concerns were raised following a nearly three-week public absence by tennis star Peng Shaui, after she alleged that a former senior Chinese official sexually assaulted her.

 Peng of China gestures in her match against Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Peng of China gestures in her match against Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne.
(photo credit: REUTERS)

Chinese tennis star Peng Shaui had a video call on Sunday with the president of the International Olympic Committee and told him she was safe and well, the IOC said in a statement.

Photos and videos of Peng at a tournament in Beijing earlier on Sunday had earlier done little to dampen international concerns, following a nearly three-week public absence after she alleged that a former senior Chinese official sexually assaulted her.

France's foreign minister had called on Chinese authorities to provide more reassurance, echoing a statement by the Women's Tennis Association that the images were "insufficient" proof.

"I'm expecting only one thing: that she speaks," France's Jean-Yves Le Drian told LCI television, adding that there could be unspecified diplomatic consequences if China did not clear up the situation. The United States and Britain had also called for China to provide proof of Peng's whereabouts.

THE OLYMPIC rings are pictured in front of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Lausanne, Switzerland last month. (credit: DENIS BALIBOUSE/REUTERS)THE OLYMPIC rings are pictured in front of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Lausanne, Switzerland last month. (credit: DENIS BALIBOUSE/REUTERS)

Current and former tennis players, from Naomi Osaka 

to Serena Williams 

to Billie Jean King, had joined the calls seeking to confirm she was safe, using the social media hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai?

The concern over Peng came as global rights groups and others have called for a boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February over China's human rights record.