Chinese diplomat claims tennis star Peng Shuai is too strong to have been sexually assaulted

Chinese diplomat claims tennis star Peng Shuai is too strong to have been sexually assaulted

A Chinese diplomat cast doubt on claims made by missing Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, arguing that the athlete was unlikely to have been sexually assaulted by a high ranking member of the Chinese Communist Party due to her physical strength and size.

“She is a very successful athlete and physically she can handle many things better than many other women in China,” Victor Gao, the vice president of the Center for China and Globalization, told 60 Minutes Australia.

Peng Shuai.  REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo/File Photo

Peng Shuai.  REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo/File Photo


“Given her maturity of the 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,” Gao continued.

Gao’s comments come after Peng made an appearance at the Winter Olympics and sat down for an interview with a French newspaper last week, which caused speculation among some that the Chinese government was still carefully controlling her public appearances.

“It’s impossible to say” whether the tennis star is free to do and say what she wants, French journalist Marc Ventouillac said after conducting the interview. “This interview don’t give proof that there is no problem with Peng Shuai.”

Concern for Peng’s wellbeing began after she made a lengthy social media post in November accusing former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of forcing her into sex, claiming it took her years to come forward with the accusation against the powerful member of China’s Communist Party.

China's Peng Shuai

China’s Peng Shuai (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch )

“Originally, I buried all this in my heart,” she wrote in the post that was quickly scrubbed from China’s largely censored internet. “Why would you even come find me again, take me to your house and force me and you to have sexual relations?”

Peng went missing for several weeks after the post, only resurfacing in what appeared to be carefully choreographed appearances.

But Gao, who has been nicknamed China’s “wolf warrior,” was seemingly unmoved by the concern for the tennis star, saying that her physical condition made it unlikely for an assault to take place.


“Physically she is very strong, she is a very tall person… she is taller than I am,” Gao told 60 Minutes Australia. “So for a person my height… trying to take advantage of Peng Shuai, forget about it. You’re indulging your fantasy.”

FILE - Peng Shuai of China

FILE – Peng Shuai of China (AP Photo, File)

Gao also argued that the alleged incident happened “years ago,” noting that Peng was not a minor when it allegedly took place.

“The incident reported on the internet didn’t happen just one week ago or one year ago, it happened several years ago,” Gao said. “Throughout this period of time she was a free person, there was no sign of her being harassed.”