Peng Shuai
              Peng Shuai has now held two video meetings with the International Olympic Committee.

The IOC says it has held a second video call with Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, but worries about her safety.

Peng, 35, went dark for three weeks after accusing a high-ranking Chinese official of rape.

The WTA has suspended all events in China because it has “serious doubts” Peng is “free, safe, and not intimidated.”

The IOC says Peng will have “a personal meeting” in January.

“There are various ways to ensure her well-being and safety,” the IOC said.

“We have treated her as a human being. We are using “quiet diplomacy,” which is the most effective way to proceed in such humanitarian matters, given the circumstances and the experience of governments and other organisations.

“We, like many others, are concerned about Peng Shuai’s health and safety. So an IOC team video called her again yesterday.

“We have offered her broad support, will keep in touch regularly, and have already agreed to meet in January.”

Penon appeared to be attending an exhibition tournament in Beijing on the same weekend as the IOC video call.

Her disappearance prompted widespread concern, with international sports stars and governments calling on China to provide proof that she was safe.

Peng “appeared to be safe and well” during the November call, the IOC said.

Peng’s November video call was deemed insufficient by the WTA.

Its chairman, Steve Simon, has expressed concern over the safety of players and staff if events are held in China in 2022.

The financial implications of not playing in China worried Simon, but Peng’s case was “bigger than business”.

Peng won Grand Slam doubles events at Wimbledon and the French Open.

Tennis stars like Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, and Novak Djokovic have expressed concern about her whereabouts.

‘A stronger second cal

Mr. Brant is the BBC’s China

This statement is stronger than the IOC’s response to the recent Zoom call between Thomas Bach and Peng Shuai.

The IOC appears to be defending its role as an intermediary.

Following the initial Zoom call, the IOC was criticised for being seen as an extension of the Chinese state.

The IOC is trying to be non-partisan, but both it and the Beijing authorities want a successful Winter Olympics in February that shows the world that China can host these Games again.

However, their main concern in China is Covid, the ongoing talks, and the possibility of a diplomatic boycott, led by the US.