China: Peng Shuai case should not be politicized

China's Foreign Ministry says the issue of tennis player Peng Shuai should not be politicized. The remark comes as some international organizations are calling for clarification regarding her case.

Peng has reportedly not been seen in public since she made a sexual assault allegation against former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.

The editor-in-chief of a Chinese state-backed media outlet posted a video purportedly showing Peng attending a youth tennis tournament ceremony in Beijing on Sunday.

The International Olympic Committee also said on Sunday that its president, Thomas Bach, spoke to her on a video call.

At a news conference on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian pointed to these developments.

The spokesperson said he hopes certain people will cease what he called "malicious hyping" and "politicization" of the issue.

Meanwhile, an international human rights organization on Monday issued a statement criticizing the IOC.

Human Rights Watch said the IOC did not explain how the video call had been organized.

It said the IOC has vaulted itself to active collaboration with Chinese authorities in undermining freedom of speech and disregarding alleged sexual assault.

It said, "The IOC appears to prize its relationship with a major human rights violator over the rights and safety of Olympic athletes."

The statement also noted that Chinese authorities have continued to impose a media and internet blackout of discussions of Peng's case.

It added that even words such as "tennis" and the surname "Peng" have been censored or shadow banned online.

Human Rights Watch called on the IOC to urge the Chinese government to open an independent and transparent investigation into Peng's case.