Peng Shuai reveals to paper that she has never written about being assaulted

BEIJING (AP), -- Peng Shuai, a Chinese tennis star, has denied that she was sexually assaulted despite a November post on social media that claimed she was forced to sex by a top Communist Party official.

Peng Shuai reveals to paper that she has never written about being assaulted

Peng was filmed by the Lianhe Zaobao Chinese language newspaper. She said that she was mainly at home in Beijing, but she was free to travel as she pleased.

"First, let me emphasize something very important. I have never stated that anyone had sexually assaulted or abused me. Peng stated, "I need to stress this point very clearly," Peng said to the reporter.

Peng was not asked how and why his Nov. 2 post was so long and detailed, nor if Peng's account was hacked.

According to the paper, Peng was interviewed at a promotional event in Beijing for the Beijing Winter Olympic Games that will begin February 4. On the observation deck at the facility, she was filmed as Yao Ming, a former NBA star, and other Chinese athletes watch a freestyle skiing competition.

Peng resigned after the accusation against Zhang Gaoli, former Vice Premier, briefly appeared on her verified Weibo and was quickly removed. Screen shots of the post were shared on the internet. This raised concerns about Peng's safety among politicians, tennis stars, and the Women's Tennis Association. They announced that all events in China would be suspended indefinitely.

The three-time Olympian, former Wimbledon champion, was seen standing next to a Beijing tennis court, waving and signing commemorative tennis balls for children. Peng also made a statement in English that was attributed to the foreign arm of state TV. She later retracted her accusations against Zhang.

WTA chief executive Steve Simon challenged the legitimacy of the emailed message, while others claimed it only raised their concerns about Peng's safety. Peng stated that she had written the statement in Chinese, and it was later translated into English. However, there was no difference in the meaning of the statements.

Zhang, 75, was a member the party's all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee from 2018 to 2018. He was also a top lieutenant of president Xi Jinping and party leader Xi Jinping. Peng's accusations have not been addressed to him in public.

Simon stated that the WTA board, players, tournaments, and sponsors supported Simon's decision to stop the tour's play there, which included Hong Kong. This was the most public protest against China made by a sporting body, and could have cost the WTA millions.

Simon repeatedly called for China to investigate the accusations of Peng, 35 years old, and for the WTA to contact Peng directly. #1 ranked doubles player, and owner of titles at Wimbledon & the French Open.

The IOC took a different approach, with its top officials stating that they believe Peng is fine after video-chatting with her.

Peng's controversy has sparked protests against Beijing hosting the Winter Games due to the government's human rights violations.

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