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Peng Shuai Accuses Chinese Official of Sex Assault

Peng Shuai claims a Chinese government official sexually assaulted her—and her allegation has been removed from China's internet.

The bombshell charge is the first time a high-ranking Chinese communist official has been publicly accused of a sex assault.

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Former world No. 1 doubles player Peng said former China's Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli "forced" her to have sex at his home, according to published reports by the BBC, New York Times and Washington Post.

The 35-year-old Peng, a 2014 US Open singles semifinalist and two-time Grand Slam doubles champion, made history as the first Chinese player, male or female, to rise to world No. 1 when she reached the top spot in doubles in 2014.

In a statement posted on social media, Peng accused Gaoli of the sexual assault writing "You brought me to your house and forced me and you to have relations. Peng's statement has been subsequently removed from China's internet, according to published reports.

"I know that someone of your eminence, Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, you'll say that you're not afraid," Peng wrote in her post. "But even if it's just striking a stone with a pebble, or a moth attacking a flame and courting self destruction, I will tell the truth about you."

Peng said she was invited to the former Vice Premier's home to play tennis and afterward he sexually assaulted her. She said she doesn't have physical evidence of the assault, but maintains Gaoli knows the truth.

"That afternoon I didn't give my consent and couldn't stop crying," Peng wrote. "You brought me to your house and forced me and you to have relations."

"I have no evidence, and it has been impossible to leave any evidence... You were always afraid that I would bring something like a tape recorder, to record evidence or something... There is no audio record, no video record, only my distorted but very real experience."

Peng's last Tour-level singles match was in Doha qualifying in February of 2020.

Photo credit: Christopher Levy