June 2, 2023

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Chinese Tennis Star Peng Shuai Denies Making Sexual-Assault Accusations

HONG KONG—Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai denied accusing any one of sexual assault, suggesting a global wave of concern for her safety and wellbeing was the consequence of misunderstandings.

“I’ve in no way claimed, or written about any one getting sexually assaulted me. This is quite significant and demands to be very clear,” stated Ms. Peng in a 6-moment video clip job interview with Singapore’s Lianhe Zaobao, a Chinese-language publication run by condition-managed

Singapore Push Holdings Ltd.

, that was posted on line Sunday.

“There’s been a great deal of misunderstanding,” Ms. Peng stated in the job interview, describing the circumstance as touching on “my individual privacy.”

“There should not be any distorted interpretations,” she stated.

China’s Peng Shuai in Melbourne, Australia, last 12 months.


Andy Brownbill/Affiliated Push

Her words abide by a Nov. 2 article that appeared on Ms. Peng’s confirmed social-media account, which explained an on-and-off partnership with previous Chinese Vice Leading

Zhang Gaoli

that lasted for some years, and was at times consensual and at times included coercion. The article alleged that in one occasion Mr. Zhang compelled Ms. Peng to have sexual intercourse with him, but it did not use the Chinese time period for sexual assault to explain the come upon.

The Nov. 2 article disappeared after about 20 minutes. Though Ms. Peng’s social-media account continues to be on line, its commenting functionality has been disabled and her name is blocked in searches.

Ms. Peng’s job interview hasn’t eased problems about her, the Women’s Tennis Affiliation stated.

“We continue to be steadfast in our phone for a comprehensive, good and transparent investigation, devoid of censorship, into her allegation of sexual assault,” the group stated.

Some international tennis stars also stated they ended up unconvinced by the video clip. “Total and utter BS,” eighteen-time Grand Slam winner

Martina Navratilova

wrote on a


in reaction to the video clip.

“This is… unsettling…,”

Chris Evert,

one more winner of eighteen Grand Slam titles, wrote in her very own reaction on Twitter.

The Weibo article in the beginning positioned Ms. Peng at the middle of a media storm. Attention expanded approximately two weeks later on on Nov. 14, when

Steve Simon,

chairman of the WTA, stated the group hadn’t been equipped to access Ms. Peng after repeated makes an attempt, and he known as for an investigation into her allegation.

In the job interview printed Sunday, Ms. Peng stated she personally wrote an e mail in Chinese to Mr. Simon. She additional that an English-language version printed on Nov. 17 by China’s condition-run broadcaster CGTN, declaring that the sexual-assault allegation was untrue and that “everything is fantastic,” was a translation.

“In conditions of which means and the facts in it, there is no change,” she stated of the two versions.

Mr. Simon stated at the time it was sent that the e mail raised a lot more problems about her safety and whereabouts. Fellow tennis stars, such as

Naomi Osaka


Serena Williams,

posted messages of concern for her, employing the Twitter hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai.

The incident also unleashed a global storm of suspicion about Ms. Peng’s health and fitness and safety. Mr. Simon stated international strain could support make clear the circumstance and guard Ms Peng. As a consequence, the WTA declared its suspension of future tournaments in China before this month. Human-legal rights organizations known as for a boycott of the Wintertime Olympics, which are established to commence in Beijing in February, pointing to China’s human-legal rights history and insisting that Ms. Peng is not truly no cost.

Representatives of China’s International Ministry have stated they are unaware of Ms. Peng’s allegations. Inquiries and solutions about Ms. Peng have been omitted from formal day by day transcripts printed by the ministry. On China’s tightly controlled world-wide-web, discussions of Ms. Peng’s circumstance have been muted.

The International Ministry has protested what it states are makes an attempt to politicize the 2022 Olympic Online games.

Ms. Peng’s job interview came hrs after Chen Qingqing, a journalist at the nationalist condition-owned International Occasions, posted a seven-next video clip clip on Twitter—which is blocked in China—showing Ms. Peng with retired Chinese basketball star Yao Ming, who is now chairman of the Chinese Basketball Affiliation.

Ms. Chen wrote that she had acquired the video clip from a friend and that it had been taken on Sunday morning through the Worldwide Ski Federation’s Cross-Country Skiing China Town Tour in Shanghai, the identical celebration at which Singapore’s Lianhe Zaobao interviewed Ms. Peng.

The tennis participant, sporting a black down jacket and a purple T-shirt emblazoned with the people for China, also stated to the reporter from Lianhe Zaobao that she had been living freely.

“Why would I be below surveillance? I’ve usually been quite no cost,” Ms. Peng stated.

Requested about two video clip calls, the Worldwide Olympic Committee stated it had with her in late November and early December, Ms. Peng confirmed that the initial one took position at her property and stated she was grateful to IOC President

Thomas Bach

and IOC Athletes’ Commission Chairwoman

Emma Terho,

who executed the phone with her.

The initial phone with the IOC happened hrs after Ms. Peng appeared at Beijing’s Nationwide Tennis Heart and in footage found on social media of her getting a food at a cafe.

At the time, the IOC stated that Ms. Peng was secure at property in Beijing and that she had asked for her privacy to be respected, devoid of right addressing the sexual-assault allegations.

On Sunday, a Twitter account purporting to belong to Ding Li, one of the people who had before shared photographs of the food with Ms. Peng, posted a sequence of photographs of the tennis participant with many people, such as Mr. Yao. Mr. Ding did not right away reply to a request for comment. Mr. Yao did not right away reply to a request for comment submitted to his basis.

On Nov. 26, the account also posted a screenshot of an e mail dated Nov. 22, signed with Ms. Peng’s name and resolved to a Mr. Simon, declaring she had sent an e mail to him and a few other people on Nov. 17. The e mail also stated she hoped people wouldn’t sensationalize her non-public business.

When asked about her designs to travel abroad, Ms. Peng stated in her job interview: “If you want me to go abroad and observe a tournament, that would be usual. But you just can’t say I ought to go abroad to verify a thing. What would I be doing by likely abroad, inform me.”

Write to Sha Hua at [email protected]

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