“I have never spoken or written about anyone sexually assaulting me,” Peng advised Singapore-based Chinese-language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao on Sunday, in her first feedback to worldwide media because the explosive allegations got here to gentle.

When requested if she has been capable of transfer freely or was involved about her security, Peng stated she has “always been free” and that she has been residing at her house in Beijing. 

The interview occurred on the sidelines of the International Ski Federation’s cross-country snowboarding competitors in Shanghai on Sunday, the place Peng was additionally photographed with Chinese basketball legend Yao Ming, and two former Olympians: sailor Xu Lijia and desk tennis participant Wang Liqin.

Peng stated there was a misunderstanding in regards to the since-deleted social media post on her verified account on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform, which detailed the allegations on November 2.

“First of all, it’s my personal privacy. There possibly has been a lot of misunderstanding. Therefore, there should not be such distorted interpretation here,” she stated.

According to screenshots of that submit, the two-time Grand Slam doubles champion accused former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of pressuring her into having intercourse at his house three years in the past.

The speedy response from Chinese authorities was to censor any point out of the accusation on-line and block Peng’s Weibo account from search outcomes. Peng disappeared from public view for greater than two weeks, prompting the world’s greatest tennis stars and the United Nations to demand solutions as to her whereabouts — in addition to a full investigation into her allegations in opposition to Zhang.

Chinese authorities haven’t acknowledged the sexual assault allegations in opposition to Zhang and dialogue of the topic continues to be censored in China.

Amid rising world outcry, people working for Chinese government-controlled media and the state sports activities system launched a variety of “proof of life” pictures and movies of Peng. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) stated it held at least two video calls together with her, saying the Chinese tennis star “reconfirmed” she was protected and effectively.

In Sunday’s interview, Peng expressed her appreciation towards the IOC, saying she feels “very grateful” to the Olympic physique and was “very happy to have video calls with them.”

Peng additionally stated she wrote an e mail to WTA chairman and CEO Steve Simon recanting the allegations “completely of my own will.” At the time, Simon questioned the validity of the e-mail and stated “we won’t be comfortable until we have a chance to speak with her.”
Analysis: Beijing is angry at the WTA for pulling out of China. But it can't let Chinese people know about it

A spokesperson for the WTA advised CNN on Monday, “it was again good to see Peng Shuai in a public setting and we certainly hope she is doing well.

“As we now have constantly said, these appearances don’t alleviate or handle the WTA’s vital concerns about her well-being and skill to speak with out censorship or coercion. We stay steadfast in our name for a full, truthful and clear investigation, with out censorship, into her allegation of sexual assault, which is the problem that gave rise to our preliminary concern.”

The incident led to the the WTA announcing an immediate suspension of all tournaments in China, together with Hong Kong, on December 1. CEO Simon stated the choice was primarily based on the “unacceptable” response of Chinese officials, including rushing to censor Peng’s allegations and ignoring calls for a full and transparent investigation.
The saga comes only a few months forward of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, an occasion which several Western nations have stated their diplomats will boycott over China’s human rights report.
China’s Foreign Ministry said the federal government hoped “malicious hypothesis” about Peng’s well-being and whereabouts would stop, and that her case should not be politicized. The ministry has also said Peng’s situation “was not a diplomatic problem.”

CNN has repeatedly reached out for remark to each Peng and China’s State Council, which handles press inquires for the central authorities.

As vice premier, Zhang, 75, served on the social gathering’s seven-person Politiburo Standing Committee — the nation’s supreme management physique — alongside President Xi Jinping from 2012 to 2017.

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