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More than a month after going off the grid, a tennis star has walked back accusations that she was sexually assaulted by a retired Chinese politician. In November, Peng Shuai, 35, accused 75-year old former vice-premier, Zhang Gaoli, of forcing her to have sex with him despite her objections.
Shortly after making the explosive claim on her Weibo account, Shuai’s post was wiped from her account, along with all of her other recent content, and she essentially vanished — absent from public view until Sunday.
Her sudden disappearance and the timing in which it occurred, promoted the World Tennis Association to suspend all WTA events in China until the Chinese authorities address the issue of Shuai’s disappearance and accusations.
Peng Shuai confirms her Weibo post has been misunderstood and distorted as it's easy to understand when you read it. pic.twitter.com/lW8CmcZkJF
— IIINSULA 西遼 (@suidaila) December 19, 2021
On Sunday, Lianhe Zaobao, a Chinese newspaper, posted a video of Shuai walking back her previously made sexual assault allegations. “First of all, I want to emphasize something that is very important. I have never said that I wrote that anyone sexually assaulted me,” Shuai says within the video. “I need to emphasize this point very clearly.”
Shaui went on to mention that she is currently living in Beijing without restrictions. Of her November Weibo post, Shaui said: “people have many misunderstandings,” though she failed to go into detail about what was misunderstood.
Following the release of Shaui’s video, the WTA continued to express their concern for the tennis star. “As we have consistently stated, these appearances do not alleviate or address the WTA’s significant concerns about her well-being and ability to communicate without censorship or coercion,” the WTA said in a statement.
The WTA’s statement continued: “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.”
Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF