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Tennis star accuses China's former vice premier of sexual coercion

Chinese partner of Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei has 'Me Too' moment over sexual coercion by CCP leader

Peng Shuai (left), Zhang Gaoli. 

Peng Shuai (left), Zhang Gaoli.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — On her official Weibo account on Tuesday (Nov. 2), former Chinese professional tennis star Peng Shuai (彭帥) alleged that she was coerced into having sex by former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli (張高麗) before becoming his mistress.

In one tremendously long post, Peng describes every detail of her sordid relationship with the former vice premier and member of the Politburo Standing Committee. In the post, Peng wrote that she is a "very bad girl" as she recounts being brought into Zhang's bedroom to have sex with him in 2018, the year that he retired from political office.

She alleged that this was an unwanted repeat of a sexual encounter that occurred 10 years previously in Tianjin. Recalling the incident in Beijing, Peng stated that "I was very scared that afternoon. I didn't expect it to be like this."

The tennis player claimed that she had sex with the leader 10 years prior to the Beijing incident and possibly one year before he was promoted to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Politburo Standing Committee in 2012. She bitterly complained that Zhang never contacted her while serving on the committee and questioned why after his retirement he took her to his home and "forced me to have a relationship" with him.

Peng wrote that she was "afraid and panicked" when she agreed to have sex with him the first time. While meandering over different timeframes, Peng seemed to indicate that she had in effect become Zhang's mistress for a certain period by providing a long list of activities they engaged in together and how they arranged for secret liaisons with Zhang picking her up at Beijing's Church of the Saviour.

She said that she had difficulty processing her feelings over the past three years and spoke of Zhang's constant fears that she might be recording audio or video of their encounters. Likening herself to an "egg against a hard rock" and that her act is like a "moth being scorched by fire," she vowed to tell the truth and asked him if he could face his mother with peace of mind "after all the things you have done in this life?"

Peng's post was quickly scrubbed from the heavily censored platform, as have all of her posts for 2021 and 2020, with the exception of posts marking her birthday on Jan. 8. Attempts to comment on her remaining posts are met with the error message stating that the content contains messages that violate Weibo's community rules.

No official comment has been made by Peng or Zhang over the incident. Given the recent government crackdown on Chinese celebrities on even the most minor of infractions, Peng will likely be restricted from professional tennis or engaging in commercial endorsements, while Zhang could potentially face disciplinary measures.

Peng's greatest accomplishments on the court were Grand Slam wins in doubles at Wimbeldon in 2013 and the French Open in 2014, both of which were achieved when she teamed up with Taiwanese star Hsieh Su-wei (謝淑薇).

Tennis star accuses China's former vice premier of sexual coercion
Screenshot of Peng's Weibo post alleging sexual encounters with Zhang. (Weibo, Peng Shuai screenshot)

Updated : 2022-05-19 14:53 GMT+08:00