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"Missing" Chinese tennis star holds video call with IOC President

Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai had a video call on Sunday with the president of the International Olympic Committee and told him she was safe and well, the IOC said after Western governments expressed mounting concern for her well-being.

Photos and videos of Peng at a children's tournament in Beijing published earlier in the day had done little to quell that unease, following a nearly three-week public absence after she alleged that a former senior Chinese official sexually assaulted her.

In a statement, the IOC said Peng began the 30-minute call with its president, Thomas Bach, by thanking the Olympic organization for its concern.

"She explained that she is safe and well, living at her home in Beijing, but would like to have her privacy respected at this time," the IOC's statement said.

"That is why she prefers to spend her time with friends and family right now. Nevertheless, she will continue to be involved in tennis, the sport she loves so much."

France's foreign minister had earlier called on the Chinese authorities to provide more reassurance, echoing a statement by the Women's Tennis Association that the images of Peng at the tournament were "insufficient" proof.

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