Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai recently publicly addressed her sexual assault claim, but surprised people by saying that she never said or wrote that anyone sexually assaulted her.

Last month, she had shared a lengthy post on Weibo, in which she claimed that the former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli sexually assaulted her, but Sunday the athlete said that people had “misunderstood” it, reported The Guardian.

Shuai attended a cross-country skiing event in Shanghai where she said in a video posted by Singaporean outlet Lianhe Zaobao that she has "never said or written that anyone has sexually assaulted me." The 35-year-old added that she has "always been very free," and was not being monitored. She said that “people have many misunderstandings” about her November post, which according to her was a “private matter."

Shuai did not mention the former top Chinese official, who has not commented on the allegations till now. In the video, she said that she had personally written to Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) head, Steve Simon, denying the allegations.

WTA issued a statement Monday saying that they still 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 association added that it was good to see her in a public setting and they certainly "hope she is doing well."

Shuai disappeared from public life for weeks after the early November social media post that prompted international concern over her well-being. Her post was also quickly scrubbed from China’s heavily censored internet, and her subsequent silence made netizens use the hashtag #WhereisPengShuai.

According to CNN, China's Foreign Ministry earlier said that her situation "was not a diplomatic issue," and that the government hoped "malicious speculation" about the tennis star's well-being and whereabouts would stop.

Over concerns for Shuai and the safety of its players, the WTA announced it was suspending all tournaments in China, which has become the association's biggest market in recent years. Due to the controversy, there have been protests against Beijing serving as the host of the Winter Olympics Games in February next year.

Peng Shuai
Peng Shuai of China in action during her Women's Singles first round match against Nao Hibino of Japan on day two of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 21, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.