Peng Shuai US Open 2014

Senior IOC official slams Peng Shuai interview criticisms as “complete nonsense”

Former IOC Vice-President Dick Pound has slammed criticisms levelled at the IOC’s interview with Peng Shuai and feels their call was the “right approach.”

Pound, the IOC’s longest-serving active member, brandished the criticisms as “complete nonsense” and called the WTA’s response “chest pushing.”

The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) President Thomas Bach recently held a 30-minute long video interview with Peng Shuai herself where she said she was “safe and well.”

The interview came after global concern arose over Peng’s well-being after she had not been seen or heard from publicly since November 2nd when she first accused former Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli of forcing her into a sexual relationship.

The IOC have since been heavily criticised for their handling of the interview and Peng’s situation by both tennis leaders and human rights organisations.

Human rights lawyer and former Canadian Olympic swimmer Nikki Dryden brandished the IOC’s video call as a “publicity stunt” and a “media exercise.”

Similarly, other criticisms saw the IOC’s approach be labelled as “nonchalant” by sporting rights group Global Athlete and the IOC have also been accused of “actively playing a role in the Chinese government’s enforced disappearance, coercion and propaganda machinery” by Human Rights Watch spokeswoman Yaqiu Wang.

Pound said “what the IOC established is that quiet and discreet diplomacy gets you better [results] than clashing cymbals.

“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.

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

“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.”

The Chinese government also made their first response to situation when they accused Western countries of “maliciously hyping up” and “politicising” the situation.

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.