Hong Kong (CNN) China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday the government hoped "malicious speculation" about tennis star Peng Shuai's well-being and whereabouts would stop, and that her case should not be politicized. Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry, declined to comment on whether the Chinese government will launch an investigation into Peng's sexual assault allegations against former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli. When asked by a reporter whether the Peng case would negatively affect China's image, Zhao said: "I think some people should stop the malicious hype and not politicize this issue." "Some Western forces are coercing Peng Shuai and an institution, forcing them to help demonize China's system," Hu Xijin, editor of nationalist tabloid the Global Times, wrote on Twitter. Peng, a two-time Grand Slam doubles champion and one of China's top tennis players, publicly accused Zhang of coercing her into sex at his home, according to screenshots of a since-deleted social media post dated November 2.
Source: CNN November 25, 2021 06:10 UTC