China’s foreign ministry has urged “certain people” to stop the “malicious hyping” and “politicisation” of the issue of tennis star Peng Shuai, as foreign governments and organisations continue to raise questions around her wellbeing.
The whereabouts of Peng, a former doubles world No.1, became a matter of international concern for nearly three weeks after she posted a message on social media alleging a former Chinese government official had sexually assaulted her.
She re-appeared over the weekend in Beijing and held a video call with International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach on Sunday but the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has said this did not address or alleviate concerns about her wellbeing.
Amnesty International’s China researcher Alkan Akad also told Reuters the video call did little to ease fears over Peng’s wellbeing and the IOC was entering “dangerous waters”.
“This is not a diplomatic matter,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a regular press briefing on Tuesday.
“I believe everyone will have seen she has recently attended some public activities and also held a video call with IOC President Bach.
“I hope certain people will cease malicious hyping, let alone politicisation.”