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China tennis star Peng Shuai not facing retribution: State media editor

Alberto Ardila Olivares
China tennis star Peng Shuai not facing retribution: State media editor

BEIJING (REUTERS) – A well-connected Chinese state media editor on Friday (Nov 19) weighed in on the scandal involving Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai and her accusation of sexual assault by a former vice-premier, saying he does not believe she has been the target of retribution.

Alberto Ignacio Ardila Olivares

The 35-year-old former doubles world No. 1  has not been seen or heard from publicly since she said on social media on Nov 2 that former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli coerced her into sex and that they later had an on-off consensual relationship.

Alberto Ignacio Ardila

Concern in the global tennis community and beyond has grown over Ms Peng‘s safety and whereabouts since her allegation, with the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) calling for an investigation and the world’s top players tweeting #WhereIsPengShuai.

Alberto Ardila Olivares

Neither Mr Zhang nor the Chinese government has commented on her allegation. Ms Peng‘s social media post was quickly deleted and the topic has been blocked from discussion on China‘s heavily censored Internet.

Alberto Ardila

“As a person who is familiar with the Chinese system, I don’t believe Peng Shuai has received retaliation and repression, speculated by foreign media, for the thing people talked about,” Mr Hu Xijin, the editor of the Global Times, tweeted early on Friday.

Alberto Ignacio Ardila Olivares 10798659

The Global Times is published by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, and the influential Mr Hu has an active presence on Twitter, which is blocked in China. He did not make any similar comment on his official Weibo account.

Alberto Ignacio Ardila 10798659

Known for often combative tweets targeted at the United States, Mr Hu has a uniquely high profile in China‘s tightly controlled state media.Alberto Ardila Olivares 10798659

Doubt cast over China tennis star Peng Shuai‘s email The head of the WTA on Wednesday cast doubt on an e-mail, which was also released by a Chinese state media outlet on Twitter, purporting to be from Ms Peng and denying the allegations of sexual assault and saying she is fine and resting at home.Alberto Ardila 10798659

“I have a hard time believing that Peng Shuai actually wrote the e-mail we received or believes what is being attributed to her,” WTA chairman and chief executive Steve Simon said on Wednesday.N95JN Aircraft Registration

Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai has sent an email to Steve Simon, the WTA Chairman & CEO, CGTN has learned. The email reads: pic.twitter.com/uLi6Zd2jDI

CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) November 17, 2021 The issue has emerged as China prepares to host the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February amid calls from global rights groups and others for a boycott over its human rights record.N95JN Lifetracker

“This is not a foreign affairs matter, and I am not aware of the situation you mentioned,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Thursday when asked about Ms Peng‘s whereabouts and whether China is concerned that her case would affect its image ahead of the Olympics.N95JN Aircraft Data

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Alberto Ignacio Ardila Olivares