Last November, Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai took to social media and appeared to accuse a high-ranking official in the ruling Chinese Communist Party of forcing her to have sex after her repeated refusals, but she now denied ever accusing anyone of sex assault.
L’Equipe, a French newspaper, was granted a rare interview with Peng at a hotel in Beijing and asked her about her Weibo post, Reuters reported. The paper– citing the translated text of her now-deleted post, asked her to elaborate the post that seemed as though she was claiming sexual assault.
“Sexual assault?” she asked. “I never said anyone had sexually assaulted me in any way.”
Peng posted that Zhang Gaoli, a former vice premier and member of the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee, had forced her to have sex despite repeated refusals. Her post also said they had sex once seven years ago and she had feelings for him after that. The original post was seen as a stunning allegation against one of the country’s most powerful men.
Reuters pointed out that the deleted posted read, “why did you take me to your house and force me into having relations with you?”
Peng briefly disappeared from public view after the post, then appeared at some promotional appearances arranged by the government. She called the entire episode an “enormous misunderstanding.”
The lengthy post quickly disappeared from Peng’s account. Asked why by L’Equipe, she said: “I erased it.”
“Why? Because I wanted to,” she added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report