ST. PETERSBURG, FLA —
The top of the ladies’s skilled tennis tour known as for a full investigation of sexual assault allegations made by a two-time Grand Slam doubles champion from China in opposition to a former high authorities official in that nation.
Earlier this month, Peng Shuai, a former No. 1-ranked doubles participant, wrote in a prolonged social media submit that Zhang Gaoli, a former vice premier and member of the ruling Communist Celebration’s omnipotent Politburo Standing Committee, had pressured her to have intercourse regardless of repeated refusals following a spherical of tennis three years in the past.
Her submit — which was faraway from her verified account on Wiebo, a number one Chinese language social media platform — additionally mentioned that they had intercourse as soon as seven years in the past and she or he had emotions for him after that.
“Peng Shuai, and all girls, should be heard, not censored. Her accusation concerning the conduct of a former Chinese language chief involving a sexual assault should be handled with the utmost seriousness. In all societies, the conduct she alleges that happened must be investigated, not condoned or ignored. We commend Peng Shuai for her exceptional braveness and energy in coming ahead. Girls world wide are discovering their voices so injustices may be corrected,” WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon mentioned in a press release launched by the tour on Sunday.
“We count on this situation to be dealt with correctly, that means the allegations should be investigated totally, pretty, transparently and with out censorship,” Simon mentioned.
Peng has received 23 tour-level doubles titles, together with at Wimbledon in 2013 and the French Open in 2014. She was a semifinalist in singles on the U.S Open in 2014.
Her accusation was the primary in opposition to a outstanding authorities official for the reason that .MeToo motion took maintain in China in 2018 earlier than being largely tamped down by authorities the identical yr.
Within the submit, Peng, 35, wrote that Zhang, now 75, and his spouse organized to play tennis in Beijing about three years in the past and that he later introduced her right into a room at his dwelling the place the assault occurred.
“I used to be so frightened that afternoon, by no means considering that this factor might occur,” the submit mentioned.
Zhang retired in 2018 and has largely disappeared from public life, as is common with former Chinese language officers.