SPORT: Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai denies making a sexual assault allegation.

December 20, 2021, 2:28 pm

Chi­nese ten­nis star Peng Shuai said she had nev­er accused any­one of sex­u­al­ly assault­ing her and claimed that a post she post­ed last month was misunderstood.

Peng grabbed the head­lines out of fear for his well-being after appear­ing to make a sex­u­al assault alle­ga­tion against for­mer Chi­nese Vice Pre­mier Zhang Gaoli.

Con­cerns grew in the ten­nis com­mu­ni­ty after she shared the post on Wei­bo and was absent from the pub­lic for near­ly three weeks.

In response, the Wom­en’s Ten­nis Asso­ci­a­tion announced this month that it will sus­pend all tour­na­ments in Chi­na due to con­cerns about Peng’s safety.

How­ev­er, she has now bro­ken her silence and said she is not accus­ing any­one of sex­u­al assault.

In a video shared by Sin­ga­pore­an media Lian­he Zaobao, Peng said, “First of all I must stress an extreme­ly impor­tant point, I have nev­er said or writ­ten that some­one sex­u­al­ly assault­ed me, I must clear­ly under­line this point. ”

This is the first time Peng has spo­ken on cam­era about this.

She also claimed that the post, which has since been abol­ished, was a “pri­vate matter”.

The Wom­en’s Ten­nis Asso­ci­a­tion praised the video, but is still call­ing for an investigation.

A spokesper­son said, “It was once again nice to see Peng Shuai in a pub­lic place and we cer­tain­ly hope that she is doing well.

“As we have always stat­ed, these appear­ances do not alle­vi­ate or address the WTA’s sig­nif­i­cant con­cerns about their well-being and their abil­i­ty to com­mu­ni­cate with­out cen­sor­ship or coercion.

“We remain firm in our call for a full, fair and trans­par­ent, uncen­sored inves­ti­ga­tion into his alle­ga­tion of sex­u­al assault, which is the issue that raised our ini­tial concern.”

Ear­li­er this month, WTA Chair­man and CEO Steve Simon said in a state­ment: “Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the Chi­nese lead­er­ship has not tack­led this very seri­ous issue credibly.

“Although we now know Peng’s where­abouts, I seri­ous­ly doubt that she is free, safe and free from cen­sor­ship, coer­cion and intimidation.”

“In good con­science, I don’t see how I can ask our ath­letes to com­pete there when Peng Shuai is not allowed to com­mu­ni­cate freely and has appar­ent­ly been pres­sured to con­tra­dict his alle­ga­tion of sex­u­al assault.

“Con­sid­er­ing the cur­rent state of affairs, I am also very con­cerned about the risks all of our play­ers and staff may face if we host events in Chi­na in 2022.”

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