“Cowardice” IOC statement of ‘quiet diplomacy’ backfires as people demand strong action over the Peng Shuai case

The International Olympic Committee comes under scrutiny after poor statements issued amidst the Peng Shuai case with the player now unheard since nearly 3 weeks.

Thomas Bach and Peng Shuai
Thomas Bach, (President of the IOC), Peng Shuai

2-time Grand Slam champion Peng Shuai‘s post on her Weibo social media account on 2nd November where under the #metoo, she accused China’s vice premier Zhang Gaoli of having forced her into a sexual relationship with him over a decade ago has brought the attention of the entire world on China.

Peng has not been seen or heard of and her post was also deleted within an hour under China’s censorship policy and it has been nearly 3 weeks that as per popular belief, Peng’s safety is compromised. The WTA did receive an email that claimed to be from the Chinese player, with the email saying that she is safe and the accusations were false, but the email hardly seems to be of any truth.

With the WTA and the ATP issuing statements of support for a full and proper investigation into the matter and WTA threatening to cancel all the tournaments from China including the WTA Finals which are scheduled to be held there till 2030, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) remained silent and failed to show any support for the 3-time Olympian, a clear failure of its protection policy of the players.

The International Olympic Committee then had to issue a statement that read, “We have seen the latest reports and are encouraged by assurances that she is safe,” but that did not go well with everyone and the IOC was forced to give out another statement that worsen the situation.

The second statement read, “Experience shows that quiet diplomacy offers the best opportunity to find a solution for questions of such nature.” With a stance that seemed to look to support the Chinese government than Peng Shuai, the IOC has received flak from people across the world and the committee will continue to garner heavy opposition from people unless strong action is taken.

Why is the IOC silent and not asking questions to China?

Youngest Medallist at Tokyo Olympics

With a proven track record of great success at the Olympics, the USA and China are the biggest markets for the IOC and also generate a great share of the revenue for the organising committee given their vast population as well who follow the Games with great interest as their nations are one of the most dominating ones.

Now given the current situation, the IOC cannot directly go against China and hurt their pockets with less than 100 days to go for the Winter Olympics. Despite protests, if the Olympics go ahead as per schedule, both the IOC and China will have their share of the revenue.

With IOC proving time and again that it cares for the money and business more than the players, a clear violation of one of its moral duty as the biggest committee, it is not surprising that China has kept the IOC quiet when one of its top ministers was involved in such an inhuman act and now has brought shame not to his party but also to his country in the light of Winter Olympics coming soon.

Djokovic, Murray, Osaka, Serena and others come ahead in support of Peng Shuai

Peng Shuai
Peng Shuai

While the IOC and Chinese government has failed to protect their player, Peng’s colleagues have not forgotten their moral duty and have come ahead in seeking help in finding her while also asking and pressuring for a non-corrupt and clean investigation into the matter with justice being served.

Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams, Coco Gauff, Simona Halep and many others took to their social media handles and used the highly viral hashtag, ‘#whereisPengShuai’ and are raising awareness to get Peng all the help she needs while also hoping for her safety.

US and UK governments planning Diplomatic Boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympics

Given the ongoing Peng Shuai case and also the other issues that have come to light about inhumane working conditions and suspected camps near the Olympics site, many human rights issues were already in the picture when the case of Peng came up which has further forced US and UK governments into cementing their decision of Diplomatic Boycott of the Games next year.

While the athletes will still be allowed to compete at the Winter Olympics, no dignitaries will be visiting and honouring China with their presence at the Games. “It’s something we’re considering,” US President Joe Biden confirmed after his meeting with Canadian President Justin Trudeau.

Many of the American Human Rights organisations brought the issue of human rights around the Olympics to the President and a decision is looming on the same lines. Following the suite of the White House, the UK government is also bending in the favour of the boycott and with two of the superpowers coming to a conclusion, many other nations can be expected to follow them.

Also Read: Fellow player including Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina and Coco Gauff take a stand for Peng Shuai, questions arise on the Chinese government