Journalist who spoke to Peng Shuai says doubts remain

One of many journalists who performed the primary sit-down interview with Chinese language tennis star Peng Shuai stated Tuesday that the fastidiously managed dialog didn’t reply questions on whether or not she will be able to converse her thoughts or transfer freely.

A Chinese language Olympic official was within the room and translated the dialog with Peng, who disappeared from public view for weeks after she made public {that a} former top-ranked Communist Celebration compelled her to have intercourse. Her social media put up was deleted rapidly, and Peng was not seen for a pair weeks, then confirmed up solely in picture alternatives organized by Chinese language officers. Worries about her led to a worldwide outpouring of fears for her security.

Marc Ventouillac, one in all two journalists for French sports activities each day L’Equipe who spoke to Peng this week in a restrictive interview organized with Chinese language Olympic officers, says he’s nonetheless uncertain if she is free.

“It is not possible to say,” he stated in English, saying the interview does not show that she is protected.

Ventouillac says China’s intent was clear to him: By granting the interview as Beijing is internet hosting the Winter Olympics, Chinese language officers hope to place the controversy to relaxation, so it does not overshadow the occasion.

“It is part of communication, propaganda, from the Chinese language Olympic Committee,” Ventouillac advised The Related Press on Tuesday, the day after L’Equipe revealed its unique.

Ventouillac stated Chinese language officers hoped the interview would present “there is no such thing as a downside with Peng Shuai. See?”

The interview, in addition to a dinner Peng had with Worldwide Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and appearances she made at Olympic venues have shone a deliberate and managed highlight on the three-time Olympian and former top-ranked doubles participant. On Tuesday, Peng sat with Bach and watched American-born Chinese language freestyle skier Eileen Gu win gold on the ladies’s huge air occasion.

Ostensibly, the purpose is to place to relaxation the query that fellow gamers and followers all over the world have been posting on-line: The place is Peng Shuai?

“It is vital, I feel, for the Chinese language Olympic Committee, for the Communist Celebration and for many individuals in China to attempt to present: ‘No, there is no such thing as a Peng Shuai affair,'” Ventouillac stated.

The ladies’s skilled tennis tour stated the interview “doesn’t alleviate any of our issues” in regards to the she made in November.

“Peng took a daring step in publicly coming forth with the allegations that she was sexually assaulted by a senior Chinese language authorities chief,” Steve Simon, the WTA’s chief government, stated in an announcement. “As we might do with any of our gamers globally, we have now referred to as for a proper investigation into the by the suitable authorities and a possibility for the WTA to satisfy with Peng — privately — to debate her scenario.”

Ventouillac stated Peng “appears to be wholesome.”

To safe the interview, organized by way of China’s Olympic Committee with assist from the IOC, L’Equipe agreed to ship questions prematurely and publish her responses verbatim, in question-and-answer kind. Initially allotted a half-hour, Ventouillac stated they ended up getting practically double that and requested all of the questions they wished, past the “8 or 10” they pre-submitted.

“There was no censorship within the questions,” he stated.

A Chinese language Olympic official sat in on the dialogue, translating Peng’s feedback from Chinese language. The newspaper then used an interpreter in Paris to make sure the accuracy of the feedback that it revealed in French on Monday. It was her first sit-down dialogue with non-Chinese language-language media because the allegations.

“She answered our questions with out hesitating — with, I think about, solutions that she knew. She knew what she was going to say,” Ventouillac stated. “However you possibly can’t know whether or not it was formatted or one thing. She stated what we anticipated her to say.”

“We began by asking questions on tennis … It helped her chill out, unwind,” he stated.

Ventouillac stated she appeared extra nervous and cautious when requested questions in regards to the put up and her relationship with the official.

Ventouillac stated one in all L’Equipe‘s goals for the interview was to point out Peng that “she shouldn’t be alone” and that individuals all over the world are involved for her.

He believes that worldwide help has helped shield her throughout the controversy. Somebody not so well-known exterior China probably could be in jail for such an allegation towards a senior official, Ventouillac speculated.

In a prolonged put up in November, Peng wrote that Zhang Gaoli, a former vice premier and member of the ruling Chinese language Communist Celebration’s omnipotent Politburo Standing Committee, compelled her to have intercourse regardless of repeated refusals. The put up, on her verified account on a number one Chinese language social media platform, Weibo, additionally stated that they had intercourse as soon as seven years in the past, and that she developed romantic emotions for him after that. Zhang has not commented on the allegations.

“Initially, I buried all this in my coronary heart,” she wrote. “Why would you even come discover me once more, take me to your home and drive me and also you to have sexual relations?”

It was rapidly scrubbed from her account. Peng advised L’Equipe that she erased it however did not give her causes past saying: “As a result of I wished to.”

She additionally stated the put up has been misunderstood.

“Sexual assault? I by no means stated that anybody made me undergo a sexual assault,” the newspaper quoted her as saying.

“This put up resulted in an infinite misunderstanding from the surface world,” she additionally stated. “My want is that the which means of this put up not be skewed.”

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