Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai has been embroiled in tensions for weeks over the rape of a former Communist Party leader and called for a boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Ms Peng said this in an interview with a Singapore newspaper on Sunday. But the retreat is unlikely to quell concerns about his well-being and whether he was the target of a well-known pressure tactic and propaganda campaign by Chinese officials.
The controversy erupted last month when Ms Peng wrote in a post on Chinese social media site Weibo that she had been in a relationship with retired Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gauli, now 75, for several years. In a meeting with him about three years ago, she “never agreed” and she “always cried.”
She abruptly withdrew from public view and a global concern about her whereabouts grew. Later in a written statement, he sought to withdraw the charge, and the Women’s Tennis Association and other professional players rallied to his side, believing his statement had been written under official pressure.
The Tennis Association stopped playing matches in China when it sought to establish independent contact with Ms. Peng. Last week, leaders of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee criticized China’s handling of Ms Peng’s case.
Lianhe Zaobao, in a Chinese language Singapore newspaper interview, Ms. Peng, 35, “First, I want to emphasize one very important thing – I never said or wrote that anyone sexually abused me.”
“Everyone may have had misunderstandings,” he said of his initial post on Weibo.
Ms Peng also denied that she had been placed under house arrest or forced to make any statement against her will.
“Why should anyone watch me?” She said. “I was very independent.”
His denial has aroused suspicion from human rights lawyers, with Chinese officials claiming to have linked him to rehearsal video appearances.
Kenneth Roth, Managing Director of Human Rights Watch.Mrs. Peng’s recent statement said, “The Chinese government is only deepening concerns about the pressure on him.”
Last month, video clips of him at a Beijing restaurant were posted on the Twitter account of the editor-in-chief of The Global Times, an influential Communist Party-run newspaper. The author described them as showing Mrs. Peng having dinner with her trainer and friends. He also appeared in live video calls with the President of the International Olympic Committee and other officials of the organization.
Chinese authorities are likely to seize Ms Peng’s latest statement, which was recorded on video, against calls for a full investigation into her claims and against the tennis association’s suspension of matches in China.
Miss skiing in Shanghai. Peng’s minute-long interview left many important questions unanswered and unanswered.
Understand that Peng Shuai is missing
Where is Peng Shuai? The Chinese tennis star has disappeared from public view for weeks after accusing a top Chinese leader of sexually abusing her. Recent videos that appear to show Ms. Peng have done little to address her safety concerns.
He was a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, the highest body of the Communist Party. He was not asked directly about his relationship with Zhang. Her understanding of sexual abuse Mr. She was not asked how it was with her previous explanation of what had happened to Zhang.
Ms. Peng has been one of China’s top tennis players, ranking No. 1 in the doubles category and No. 14 in singles in 2014. In early November, Mr. The Weibo account of his relationship with Zhang lasted for 20 minutes, before which Chinese auditors destroyed it. But the news spread fast on the internet.
Since then, the Women’s Tennis Association and other organizations have been working to ensure Ms. Peng’s safety. They also pressured Chinese officials to give them the opportunity to freely describe what happened to Zhang.
In an interview released on Sunday, the international arm of China’s state broadcaster, China Global Television Network, published an English language e – mail in November in Ms. Peng’s name. In it, he denies allegations of sexual harassment and asks to be alone.
But Steve Simon, chief executive of the Women’s Tennis Association, and many rights activists have called into question its credibility.
In a recent interview, Ms. Peng sought to address those doubts. He said he wrote the Chinese statement in the same way “entirely of my own free will” and then helped someone translate it into English.