File picture of Chinese Vice Primier Zhang Gaoli
Missing Tennis Star Peng Shuai: What To Know As Serena Williams, White House Speak Out Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

China’s ex-Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli has been in news since the country's popular tennis player Peng Shuai accused him of sexually assaulting her.

Gaoli, 75, served as the Vice Premier between 2013 and 2018 and during that time, he presided over preparation meetings for the Beijing Winter Olympics to be held next year, reported BBC. He visited athletes, held meetings to coordinate preparation work, inspected venue construction sites and unveiled official emblems since he was the head of a government working group on the event, according to CNN.

He retired three years ago, but now has found himself at the center of a sex scandal that has made many call for a boycott of the Winter Olympics that he helped in organizing.

The 35-year-old athlete, who won two women's doubles Grand Slams at Wimbledon in 2013 and the French Open in the following year, has not only accused him of sexual assault at his home, but she also claimed to have a relationship with him over an intermittent period. Shuai made the allegations in a Weibo post dated Nov. 2 that has been deleted now. In the post she asked, "Why did you have to come back to me, took me to your home to force me to have sex with you?"

Since Gaoli's retirement, he has kept a low profile, and has not commented on the allegations. Even when he was in office, Gaoli had cut a dull figure, and in photos and on television, he was rarely seen wearing any expression. He reportedly enjoyed tennis, playing Chinese chess, and reading. Deng Yuwen, a former editor of an official party journal who now lives in America said that there was nothing outstanding about Gaoli and that he's a "standard technocrat trained and cultivated by the Chinese Communist Party system." Yuwen shared that he was not involved in particular scandals and had been a "bland figure without any controversy."

When Gaoli officially became one of China's seven most powerful men, he hardly stood out among his colleagues on the Politburo Standing Committee, but as the Vice Premier, he was in charge of aspects of the country's economy and its energy sector, among other things.

Shuai Peng
Shuai Peng of China plays a backhand during her Women's Doubles first round match with partner Shuai Zhang of China against Veronika Kudermetova of Russia and Alison Riske of the United States on day four of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 23, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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