China says ‘not aware’ of tennis player Peng Shuai issue

China’s Foreign Ministry says it isn’t aware of the controversy surrounding tennis professional Peng Shuai, who disappeared after accusing a former top official of sexually abusing her

Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters that the matter was “not a diplomatic question and I’m not aware of the situation.”

The ministry has consistently disavowed knowledge of the issue since it broke as a major global story earlier this week.

Peng wrote in a lengthy social media post on Nov. 2 that she had been forced to have sex despite repeated refusals three years ago with Zhang Gaoli, a former vice premier and member of the ruling Communist Party’s all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee.

Steve Simon, the chairman and CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association, questioned the authenticity of what Chinese state media said was an email intended for him in which Peng said she was safe and that the assault allegation was untrue. It was posted Thursday by CGTN, the international arm of Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

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