Several senators introduced a bipartisan resolution on Wednesday, Feb. 9, calling on the Chinese regime to ensure the personal safety and freedom of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai. They also blame the International Olympic Committee for failing to forcefully challenge Beijing’s claim that “Peng Shuai is safe.”

The resolution was sponsored by Senators Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Rick Scott of Florida, and Mark Warner of Virginia.

Senator Blackburn said, “The Chinese Communist Party has demonstrated they are willing to disappear and silence anyone who questions them—including athletes like Peng Shuai. The International Olympic Committee failed to fulfill their duty by enabling China’s abuse, and Congress is now left with no other choice than to demand better for our athletes.”

In a Tweet on Feb. 8, Blackburn also implied that the IOC cooperated with Beijing in the case of Peng Shuai. She tweeted, “The Chinese Communist Party is using Peng Shuai as a puppet, and the International Olympic Committee is going along with it. Not only did a top CCP official sexually assault and disappear her, but now they’re forcing her to deny anything happened.”

Senator Rick Scott, another co-sponsor of the resolution, said, “The recent disappearance of Peng Shuai has shocked the world and exposed the disturbing lack of basic rights and human decency experienced by the Chinese people at the hand of General Secretary Xi’s ruthless communist regime. No one, especially the IOC, should ignore what happened to Ms. Shuai or attempt to move past this horrifying incident simply to avoid confrontation with Communist China.” 

Senator Mark Warner, another co-sponsor of the resolution, said, “The International Olympic Committee’s unwillingness to clearly and forcefully stand up to the CCP and call for independent assurance into the safety and freedom of Peng Shuai strongly suggests that the committee is willing to prioritize a relationship with China over athlete well-being. As the Olympic Games get underway, we must not turn a blind eye towards the disturbing human rights abuses by the CCP, and the IOC must join the broader diplomatic push for the freedom and well-being of Peng Shuai.”

The Women’s Tennis Association’s chief executive, Steve Simon, also said on Feb. 8 that Peng’s initial interview with a foreign news outlet “does not alleviate any of our concerns” about her previous accusation. As a result, the sports body postponed all matches in China indefinitely.

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