Peng Shuai, a Chinese tennis star, has appeared in an internet video denying she ever filed a sexual assault complaint against a government official, despite concerns about her safety.
Peng Shuai accused Zhang Gaoli, China’s former vice-premier, of abusing her in the past last month, before disappearing for nearly three weeks.
She now claims that a post she wrote on social media in November was misconstrued and that she never truly accused anyone of attacking her.
“First, I need to stress one issue that is incredibly crucial, I have never claimed or written that anyone has sexually assaulted me, I have to explicitly underline this point,” she said in a video posted by Singapore media source Lianhe Zaobao on Sunday.
Her remarks from a skiing event in Shanghai are the first time she has spoken publicly about the alleged incident.
She went on to say that the statements in issue – which were briefly uploaded on Weibo before being promptly erased – were a “private subject” about which “many misunderstandings” exist.
Peng, who has been photographed since her abduction, but with concerns around her, claimed that she has been living alone in her Beijing residence.
The 35-year-old also stated that she wrote to Steve Simon, the president of the Women’s Tennis Association, last month, disputing the assault charges.
Simon said he had a “hard time believing” Peng wrote the email or knew what was in it.
The WTA has halted tournaments in China because of the ongoing investigation into Peng’s disappearance.
Two video calls with the tennis player were also held by the International Olympic Committee.
The issue comes ahead of next year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing, which have already sparked diplomatic boycotts from a number of countries, including the UK.
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