BEIJING (AP) – Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai has denied being sexually assaulted despite an attributed November social media post in which a former senior Communist Party official accused her of forcing her to have sex.
Lianhe Zaobao, a Singaporean Chinese-language newspaper, posted Peng’s video, which she said was filmed in Shanghai on Sunday, in which she said she mostly stayed at home in Beijing but was free to come and go as she chose.
“First of all, I want to emphasize something that is very important. I never said that I wrote that someone raped me. I need to emphasize this point very clearly, ”Peng told the newspaper.
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The reporter did not ask how or why this long and highly detailed post from November 2 appeared, or if Peng’s account had been hacked.
The newspaper said it had interviewed Peng at a publicity event for the Beijing Winter Olympics, which begins February 4. She was photographed on the observation deck of the facility, where she watched the freestyle competition with former NBA star Yao Ming and other Chinese sports figures. …
Peng disappeared from view after the accusation against former Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli briefly appeared on her confirmed social media Weibo before being quickly dropped. Screenshots of the post were posted online, raising concerns among politicians, fellow tennis stars and the Women’s Tennis Association over Peng’s safety, which has announced an indefinite suspension of all events in China.
Following the publication, the three-time Olympic champion and former Wimbledon champion showed up outside a tennis court in Beijing, waving and signing huge commemorative tennis balls for the kids. The foreign subsidiary of state television also issued a statement in English attributed to Peng, which dropped the charges against Zhang.
WTA CEO Steve Simon questioned the legitimacy of the emailed statement, while others said it only increased their concerns about her safety. In an interview with Lianhe Zaobao, Peng said that she wrote the statement in Chinese and it was later translated into English, but there was no significant difference in meaning between the two versions.
Zhang, 75, was a member of the all-powerful standing committee of the party’s Politburo until 2018 and first deputy president and party leader Xi Jinping. He did not appear in public or comment on Pen’s accusation.
Simon said the decision to stop touring China, including Hong Kong, was supported by the board of directors, players, tournaments and sponsors of the WTA. This was the sports organization’s strongest public stance against China, which could have cost the WTA millions of dollars.
Simon has repeatedly called on China to investigate 35-year-old Peng’s allegations and allow the WTA to communicate directly with the former # 1 doubles player and title holder at Wimbledon and the French Open.
The IOC took a different position, with senior officials saying that after the video chat, they thought Peng was fine.
The controversy surrounding Peng has exacerbated protests against Beijing’s Winter Games due to human rights violations by the government.