Despite a November social media post attributed to her accusing a former top Communist Party member of forcing her into sex, Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai has denied being sexually abused.
The Chinese-language tabloid Lianhe Zaobao published a video of Peng filmed Sunday in Shanghai, in which she stated that she has been primarily remaining at home in Beijing but is free to come and go as she pleases.
“First and foremost, I’d want to underline something really crucial. I’ve never claimed that I wrote anything about someone sexually assaulting me. “I need to make this issue extremely clear,” Peng told the reporter for the publication.
The reporter did not inquire as to how or why Peng’s lengthy and comprehensive message from November 2 arrived, or whether his account had been hacked.
Peng was interviewed by the newspaper during a promotional event for the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, which begin on February 4th. She was seen on camera on the observation deck of a facility where she was watching a freestyle ski competition with former NBA star Yao Ming and other Chinese athletes.
After the charge against former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli emerged momentarily on her verified Weibo social media before being quickly withdrawn, Peng faded from view. Screenshots of the message were widely circulated on the internet, prompting significant worry for Peng’s safety among lawmakers, fellow tennis players, and the Women’s Tennis Association, who stated that all events in China would be suspended indefinitely.
Following the announcement, the three-time Olympian and former Wimbledon winner was seen waving and signing giant commemorative tennis balls for youngsters alongside a tennis court in Beijing. Peng’s claim against Zhang was likewise reversed in an English statement made by state TV’s international arm.
WTA CEO Steve Simon questioned the authenticity of the emailed message, while others expressed fear for her safety as a result. Peng noted in the Lianhe Zaobao interview that she prepared the statement in Chinese and that it was then translated into English, but that the two versions had no fundamental differences in content.
Zhang, 75, served as a key subordinate to President and Party Leader Xi Jinping and was a member of the party’s all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee until 2018. He hasn’t made any public appearances or responded to Peng’s allegations.
The WTA board of directors, players, events, and sponsors all backed the decision to cease the tour’s participation in China, including Hong Kong, according to Simon. It was the WTA’s most outspoken public stance against China, and it might cost the organization millions of dollars.
Simon has repeatedly urged China to conduct an investigation into Peng’s allegations and to allow the WTA to connect directly with the former No. 1 doubles player and winner of Wimbledon and the French Open.
The IOC has adopted a different approach, with top officials declaring that after video conferencing with Peng, they feel she is alright.