A Beijing diplomat has claimed tennis star Peng Shuai couldn’t have been sexually assaulted by a Chinese official because of her physical stature.
Recall that Peng posted a note on Chinese social media platform Weibo accusing former Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli of forcing her to have sex with him in November last year, before she suddenly vanished from the public.
She has since re-emerged and had an interview where she said her social media post was an ‘enormous misunderstanding’
Peng told French magazine L’Equipe that she ‘never said’ she had been sexually assaulted and that she ‘never disappeared’.
Victor Gao, vice-president of the Center for China and Globalisation, has now claimed that the 36-year-old couldn’t have been assaulted by retired Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli because she’s too ‘tall and strong’.
Gao who serves as a mouthpiece for the government, said: ‘she is a very successful athlete and physically she can handle things better than many other women.’
‘Because of the maturity of her mind and the maturity of her physical condition, she can take care of herself and she can defend herself in front of whatever man or persons in China.’
‘Physically she is very strong, she is a very tall person. She is taller than I am,’ he told 60 Minutes.
‘So for a person my height trying to take advantage of Peng Shuai, forget about it. You’re indulging in fantasy.’
He claimed that Peng living for years in the public eye without any signs of abuse was proof that her allegations were unfounded.
‘Whatever happened was way after she was 18 years old. The incident reported on the internet didn’t happen one week ago, it happened years ago,’ Mr Gao said.
‘Throughout this period of time she was a free person, there was no sign of her being harrassed.’
Peng made the initial post to the Chinese social media platform detailing the alleged rape by Mr. Gaoli, which came seven years after the pair first had an affair.
She said she was taken to a room in the former vice premier’s house and told to have sex with the official with a guard standing watch outside.
The tennis star admitted to being a ‘bad girl’ and a ‘hypocrite’ but said she had to share her story.
‘I will tell the truth about you. With your intelligence, I’m certain you will deny it or you can blame it on me, or disregard it. You always said you hoped your mother in heaven could bless and protect you,’ she posted to Weibo in November.
‘I am a bad woman who doesn’t deserve to be a mother, but you are a father with both a son and a daughter. I have asked you this before: if it was your adopted daughter, would you have forced her to do this?
‘Do you still have the courage to face your mother after everything you’ve done in your lifetime? We sure all like to pose as people with high morals…’
Peng was missing from the public eye for several weeks before resurfacing and addressing the rumours in an amateur video recorded by a reporter.
‘First and foremost, I must emphasize. I have never said or written about anyone sexually assaulting me,’ she said.
‘That’s a very important point. On the Weibo post, that’s my personal issue.’