Sex scandal in China: former deputy prime minister accused of raping tennis star

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Sex scandal in China: former deputy prime minister accused of raping tennis star
Sex scandal in China: former deputy prime minister accused of raping tennis star
5 November 2021, 13:54In the worldPhoto: WION
Tennis star Shuai Peng wrote on social media that Zhang Gaoli, one of the most famous Chinese politicians, repeatedly forced her to have sex.

Two-time Grand Slam winner Shuai Peng wrote on her Weibo account about sex abuse by former Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli, according to the New York Times.

According to the athlete, the politician raped her for the first time more than 10 years ago, when he was the first secretary of the Chinese Communist Party in Tianjin, and she was a rising tennis star. He then coerced her into sex in 2018 after he stepped down as Vice Premier of China. In her post, Shuai Peng claims that she tried to fight and painfully experienced every episode of violence, and her abuser told her in the face that he was not afraid of any accusations. According to the girl, she cannot provide evidence of her accusation, since the politician carefully monitored that their meetings were not recorded.

The tennis player's post disappeared 20 minutes after publication, but this time was enough for the screenshots to spread across the Chinese Internet. Nevertheless, in the search for a Chinese browser, both the name Shuai Peng, and even the word "tennis" are now blocked: discussion of the illegal actions of party leaders in the country is not welcome.

Officials in China have been accused of sexual harassment before, but never before has a dignitary like Zhang Gaoli been targeted. Now the politician is 75 years old. An economist by training, from 2013 to 2018 he was Vice Premier of China and one of seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee, then and now Xi Jinping.

Shuai Peng has twice won Grand Slam tournaments with Taiwanese tennis player Xie Shuwei: Wimbledon in 2013 and French Open in 2014. Her highest achievement in the Women's Tennis Association rankings was 1st in doubles and 14th in singles in 2014. Shuai Peng is considered one of the first female athletes in China to refuse to become part of a system that prescribes giving most of her earnings to the state. Shuai Peng managed to reach an agreement in which she trained on her own and kept the lion's share of the fees for herself.

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