Tennis star says official sexually assaulted her

ROME (AP) — Former Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai has accused a retired Chinese Communist Party official of sexual assault at a social event in the West Bank in 2012.

The 49-year-old Peng told a Chinese television program Monday that she was pressured to have sex with him during an interview on an Arabic TV station when she was in the West Bank with her husband, Usman Ismail, a Jordanian-Palestinian.

The Chinese tennis player said she initially told her husband what happened but decided to go public because the “celebrity culture” had moved on from what she described as a “low level of vulgarity.”

Ismail was quoted by the state-run Beijing Youth Daily newspaper as saying, “As for the report, we first heard about it after we got back from the trip.”

Ismail said he spoke to the official about the sexual assault but “left the matter unanswered and kept the issue off his mind for some time.”

The official, named by Peng as Zhou Bin, denied the accusations. Zhou told the South China Morning Post he was sorry for what Peng had gone through and told her he did not know that she was married and was clearly inebriated.

“He was shouting expletives at me and pretending that he slapped me,” Peng was quoted as saying by the China Youth Daily. “He made me sit on the sofa and told me I have to have sex with him. I refused, but I started to feel uncomfortable.”

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