Peng Shuai denies making sexual assault claim as WTA warns about her wellbeing

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  • Shuai Peng
    Shuai Peng
    Chinese female tennis player (1986-)
China’s Peng Shuai (Nigel French/PA) (PA Archive)
China’s Peng Shuai (Nigel French/PA) (PA Archive)

Peng Shuai has denied making an allegation of sexual assault against former Chinese vice-premier Zhang Gaoli in her latest public appearance.

But the WTA warned that her interview and public appearance were yet to address the organisation’s concerns for her wellbeing.

Speaking to Lianhe Zaobao, a Singapore Chinese-language newspaper, Peng said: “First, I need to stress one point that is extremely important, I have never said or written that anyone has sexually assaulted me, I have to clearly stress this point.”

Speaking at a cross-country skiing event in Shanghai, she said her initial post on Chinese social media site Weibo was “a private matter” and that “people have many misunderstandings” about the post. She also dismissed any suggestion that she was under surveillance, saying: “Why would anyone monitor me? I have always been very free”.

Despite her latest appearance, the WTA, which had previously pulled out of all tournaments in China for the foreseeable future, said it was still unconvinced over her safety and wellbeing.

“It was again good to see Peng Shuai in a public setting and we certainly hope she is doing well,” the WTA said in a statement.

“As we have consistently stated, these appearances do not alleviate or address the WTA’s significant concerns about her wellbeing and ability to communicate without censorship or coercion.”

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