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China says tennis star Peng Shuai’s case has been “maliciously hyped”




Beijing said on Tuesday that fears of Peng Shuai are being “maliciously hyped”.© AFP

China said Tuesday that controversy surrounding Peng Shuai was “maliciously stirred” after the Chinese tennis star filed charges against one of the country’s most powerful politicians. Peng, a Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion, was not seen for more than two weeks after she made allegations of sexual assault against a former deputy prime minister. The 35-year-old made her first public appearance last weekend when she was spotted at a tennis tournament in Beijing.

“I think some people need to stop deliberately and maliciously glorifying this issue, let alone politicizing this issue,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in response to a question about whether the case will affect the issue. had on China’s international image.

The comment was the Chinese government’s most direct response to Peng’s case.

Until Tuesday, Beijing had repeatedly brushed aside questions about her whereabouts and well-being, calling it “not a diplomatic issue”.

Evidence of her claims has also been scrapped from the highly censored internet in China.

Peng appeared in a 30-minute video call with the head of the International Olympic Committee on Sunday.


But human rights groups and sports authorities abroad have continued to express concerns about Peng’s well-being and whether authorities will act on her allegations.

“This video does not change our call for a full, fair and transparent, non-censorship investigation, into her allegation of sexual assault, the issue that gave rise to our primary concern,” the Women’s Tennis Association said.

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