Like it never even happened: Tennis star Peng Shuai denies ever accusing anyone of sexual assault

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(Video Credit: 9 News Australia)

Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai recanted on Sunday her accusation that a retired Communist Party official sexually assaulted her, denying that she ever claimed anyone forced her to have sex against her will.

In an “exclusive” interview with Singaporean media outlet Lianhe Zaobao, Peng Shuai asserted that she had “never said or written that anyone sexually assaulted” her.

“I have to clearly stress this point,” she declared in the video that was translated originally by Reuters.

The tennis star found herself splashed across international headlines in November after she wrote a 1,600-word post on Chinese social media platform Weibo on Nov. 2 that charged Chinese former Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli with forcing her to have sex with him despite her repeatedly telling him no three years ago following a round of tennis. In her post, she also alleged that Zhang’s wife guarded the door as he assaulted her.

The post recounts how Zhang and his wife allegedly took Peng to their home where the assault occurred.

“I have no proof, and it would be impossible for me to keep any evidence,” the post stated. “You denied everything afterward (…) That afternoon I originally did not consent and cried the whole time.”

Her post was taken down within 30 minutes of being aired on the social media website. Peng Shuai, 35, then mysteriously disappeared from social media and from public view for two to three weeks. The Chinese state-controlled media imposed an apparent blackout on the matter and rumors swirled concerning the fate of the tennis star.

She now claims that the post was a “private matter” and alleges that people “have many misunderstandings” about it.

During the whole sordid affair that the Chinese did their best to silence and cover up, Peng did two video calls with the International Olympic Committee where she assured them of her well-being.

Peng Shuai’s limited appearances occurred after the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) went to the media and made a lot of noise about her disappearance. The photo-ops were reportedly censored and controlled by the Beijing-backed news agency The Global Times and its editors.

The three-time Olympian and former Wimbledon champion is claiming that she has been at home in Beijing all this time and that she has not been supervised.

“Why would anyone monitor [me?] [I have] always been very free,” she declared.

The interview was conducted by the Singaporean media outlet on the sidelines of a sporting event in Shanghai where Peng appeared with national athletes including basketball player Yao Ming. A video of her speaking to the basketball star was posted to Twitter by a state media journalist.

Other pictures of Peng in Shanghai were posted to Twitter by sports executive Ding Li according to the BBC.

After the tennis star posted her account of the assault, Fox News reported that Chinese Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian accused “some people” of “deliberately and maliciously hyping [the issue] up” and warned that they should no longer “politicize” an issue that Beijing saw as “not a diplomatic matter.”

Peng referred to an email that she allegedly sent to WTA head Steve Simon where she denied any allegations of sexual assault. Simon, in turn, remarked that he “had a hard time believing” she had written the email.

The controversy surrounding Peng Shuai’s initial accusations and her subsequent disappearance has contributed to protests over Beijing’s hosting of the Winter Games due to the government’s human rights abuses.

People aren’t buying the potentially coerced denial by the tennis star:


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