Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai has denied making a sexual assault accusation in her first media interview since she alleged that a senior Chinese leader had forced her to have sex.
Ms. Peng generated worldwide concern when she disappeared from public view after posting the allegations online. Now he has said that there have been “many misunderstandings” about the publication. The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) said it was still concerned that the state was censoring it.
In the video interview with Lianhe Zaobao, a Singaporean Chinese-language newspaper, Ms. Peng explained, “I have never said or written that someone has sexually assaulted me. This point should be emphasized very clearly. In her original note, which was posted on Chinese social media platform Weibo in November, she accused former Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli of forcing her to have sex with him.
Ms Peng, who appeared to have trouble hearing the reporter in the interview and seemed surprised by the line of questioning, said she was not under surveillance. Why would someone watch [me?] [I] have always been very free,” he said. Lianhe Zaobao is read in mainland China and in recent years has been known for her pro-Beijing coverage.
The interview took place on the sidelines of a sporting event in Shanghai, where he appeared with national athletes, including basketball player Yao Ming. A state media reporter posted on Twitter a video of Ms Peng speaking with the basketball star in which the tennis player is the only person not wearing a mask. Other images of her in Shanghai were posted on Twitter by sports executive Ding Li.
Responding to her latest comments, the WTA, the governing body for women’s tennis, said it welcomed her appearance “in a public setting” but did not “alleviate or address … concerns about her well-being and ability to function. communicate without censorship or coercion. We stand firm in our call for a full, fair and transparent investigation … into his allegation of sexual assault, which is the issue that gave rise to our initial concern,” the WTA said.
What happened to Peng Shuai? On November 2, Ms Peng posted a 1,600-word note on Weibo, kicking off what would become the most significant case of its kind in China’s slow #MeToo movement. The note, addressed to Mr. Zhang, stated that they were in a romantic relationship and that he, too, had forced her to have sex.
Why did you come back and look for me, take me to your house and force me to have sex with you?” Read a line. The post was quickly removed from Weibo, but not before it quickly went viral. Your account remains under restrictions and not a single post is shown in the media.