Concerned activists condemned IOC President Thomas Bach’s so-called disgraceful behavior as a supporter of the Beijing Winter Olympics and his ignorance about tennis star Peng Shuai. They called for reform of the IOC and for Bach to step down.
Last November, Peng Shuai, a former world No. 1 doubles player, claimed on social media that Zhang Gaoli, a former Chinese vice premier, had sexually abused her.
The tennis player then said that she had never accused anyone of sexual assault, and people had misinterpreted her post on China’s Twitter-like Weibo site.
The IOC has held multiple video calls with Peng in recent months, but it is still unclear how free and safe the three-time Olympian is. As a result, IOC president Thomas Bach claims that he will meet with Peng at the Olympics.
According to NPR, Bach said on Thursday, Feb. 3, that Peng Shuai has freedom of movement and is spending time with her family and friends.
According to AFP, in response to a reporter’s question about Peng Shuai’s earlier sexual assault allegations, Bach said that the IOC would, of course, support her if she wanted an investigation. Still, it would have to be her own decision. However, he also said he had heard about Peng Shuai’s withdrawal of these allegations.
Bach again tried to downplay international concerns about the safety of Chinese tennis stars at a news conference ahead of the Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Bach also doubled down on his promise to meet and have dinner with Peng Shuai. However, he noted that Peng Shuai would need to enter the “closed-loop” of the Beijing Winter Olympics to have this meeting, and she must take the Covid test.
A former student leader of the 1989 student movement, Wuer Kaixi, told the AFP that Bach knew very well that Peng Shuai could not have real freedom but still chose to help whitewash the Chinese Communist Party and this is disgraceful.
Wuer Kaixi also criticized the IOC and Bach’s actions in the Beijing Winter Olympics, which are repeating the appeasement policy of the various countries towards Germany under the Nazi era during the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Wuer Kaixi said, as a German, Bach should remember the lesson from the Berlin Olympics, when the world’s weakness and appeasement policy only encouraged the Nazi evilness that led to the human catastrophe that followed. If the world had expressed a clear boycott at that time, the world would have seen a different result.
In addition to the Peng Shuai case at the press conference, Bach avoided mentioning the controversies surrounding the Beijing Winter Olympics and other issues such as the diplomatic boycott and human rights. Instead, he repeated the old saying that sports should not be subject to political interference.
World Uyghur Council spokesman Dirichati said that Bach volunteered to be a tool of Beijing in the case of Peng Shuai, so it is conceivable that he would not dare to voice any criticism of Beijing’s genocide against the Uighurs.
Dirichati said that the head of the IOC has openly assisted China in whitewashing the issue of Peng Shuai exemplified in silence from the IOC in the face of genocide in response to some of Peng Shuai’s statements. Therefore, acting as a political tool for China is to become an accomplice to its genocide.
Dirichati called for a complete reform of the IOC and the removal of Bach.
He added by allowing the hosting of the Olympics, the IOC has given China’s authoritarian regime a political stage to show off itself and has given Beijing the confidence that it can buy off any international organization through its economy.
Since he arrived in China, Bach has become a VIP guest of the Chinese government, receiving a warm welcome from Xi Jinping and senior Party officials on Jan. 25.
Bach claimed on Feb. 2 that the Beijing Winter Olympics had “strong support” from the international community and criticized the International boycott.