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IPFS News Link • China

China's grand Winter Olympics opening doesn't go to plan

•, AFP

Thomas Bach will meet Peng Shuai at the Beijing Winter Olympics to assess her "physical integrity and her mental state", the International Olympic Committee chief said at a press conference overnight, as controversy dogged the Games right up to the eve of the opening ceremony.

Bach said the International Olympic Committee would support an inquiry into the tennis star's allegation of sexual assault against a top-ranking Chinese politician — if she calls for one.

The lead-up to the Beijing Olympics, which open on Friday with a ceremony at the "Bird's Nest" stadium, have been overshadowed by human rights concerns, the Covid pandemic and even fears about Chinese government snooping of athletes.

Peng, a former grand slam champion doubles player, has also been a major talking point after she alleged on Chinese social media in November that former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli had forced her into sex during an on-off relationship.

It was the first time that the #MeToo movement had touched China's ruling Communist Party.

The allegation was swiftly scrubbed from China's tightly controlled internet and Peng was not heard from for nearly three weeks, only to reappear in public and she later held a video call with Bach.

In December she denied ever making the allegation but it remains unclear how free and safe the three-time Olympian really is.

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