Peng Shuai denies sexual assault!

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Peng Shuai has made her first media appearance since accusing a high-ranking Chinese politician of sexual assault, but this time she’s denying that the assault had ever taken place.

Peng Shuai

In a video message shared by the Lianhe Zaobao Chinese-language newspaper, Peng talks to the media for the first time after weeks of the entire tennis community, and the world, being worried about her well-being.

“First of all, I want to emphasize something that is very important. I have never said that I wrote that anyone sexually assaulted me. I need to emphasize this point very clearly,” the 35-year-old Peng explained in the video taken Sunday in Shanghai.

In early November, Peng accused former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault, by posting a statement on her official Weibo account. The post was quickly deleted from the social network and since then the former WTA doubles world No.1 seemed to have disappeared.

Weeks went by and the WTA didn’t get a convincing proof of Peng’s well-being. In the beginning of December, WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon informed us that he had finally found Peng, but continued to have serious doubts that she was free, safe and not subject to censorship, coercion and intimidation. Therefore, the WTA made a bold decision to cancel all tournaments in China.

Now that we’ve heard from Peng in the media, the WTA remains reserved: “We remain steadfast in our call for a full, fair and transparent investigation, without censorship, into her allegation of sexual assault, which is the issue that gave rise to our initial concern.” The WTA is not convinced that Peng has the ability to communicate without censorship or coercion.

Why is Peng giving this interview only now? If she genuinely wanted to take back what she said, I guess she would have done it right away. What do you think?

2 COMMENTS

  1. I think the whole case is quite peculiar. As I understand it she allegedly had a consensual relationship with this guy, who is a party leader and over 40 years older than her, but then she says he assaulted her on one occasion. And now she says there was never any assault. I know we are supposed to take allegations of sexual assault seriously, but it’s just not adding up from beginning to end. Was she coerced into the relationship in the first place? Like maybe we won’t let you travel overseas or keep your money or whatever if you don’t have sex with me. And for someone with a strong social media presence, who is presumably pretty savvy, the original allegation was odd and was clearly going to cause her a great deal of trouble. Not that she shouldn’t make such an allegation if it was true, but what was the context of her suddenly doing that? And why that medium? And why now is she retracting it? More coercion? We’ll probably never know the full story.

  2. CLT, I agree, it’s all very strange. We’re not getting all the information, so it’s hard to understand. As it was explained at first, she was sexually assaulted by him once, a long time ago, and then later she was in a supposedly consensual relationship with him for a very long time, as his mistress. As you say, we’ll probably never know the true story. I hope that she is fine and that the situation will be resolved in her best interest.

    And those videos of her casually eating at a restaurant in Beijing while the whole world is in panic mode looking for her… that was bizarre. Who knows how this story will develop. Something will have to happen, as the WTA tournaments in China are still canceled.

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