Chinas Peng denies making sex assault claim but WTA not convinced
However, the comments did not ease worries at the Women’s Tennis Association, which said Monday that it still had “significant concerns about her well-being and ability to communicate without censorship or coercion”.
In a post last month on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform, Peng had alleged that former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli — who is in his 70s — coerced her into sex during an on-off relationship spanning several years.
In comments to Lianhe Zaobao, a Singaporean Chinese-language newspaper, Peng denied making the allegation.
“I would like to stress a very important point: I have never said nor written anything accusing anyone of sexually assaulting me,” the 35-year-old said in footage apparently filmed on a phone at a sports event in Shanghai on Sunday.
“I would like to emphasise this point very clearly.”
The post was quickly scrubbed from the Chinese web, but not before screenshots were posted on Twitter, setting off a global outcry.