Peng Shuai denies making sexual assault allegation against retired Communist Party leader, but WTA concerns persist

Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai has denied making sexual assault allegations against a retired Communist Party leader, following more than a month of growing concern about her safety and whereabouts that led to the Women's Tennis Association pulling out of China. "I have never spoken or written about anyone sexually assaulting me," Peng told Singapore-based Chinese-language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao on Sunday, in her first comments to international media since the explosive allegations came to light. When asked if she has been able to move freely or was concerned about her safety, Peng said she has "always been free" and that she has been living at her home in Beijing.
The interview took place on the sidelines of the International Ski Federation's cross-country skiing competition in Shanghai on Sunday, where Peng was also photographed with Chinese basketball legend Yao Ming, and two former Olympians: sailor Xu Lijia and table tennis player Wang Liqin. However, skepticism remains about how freely Peng has been allowed to communicate, as well as calls for an investigation into the allegations. Peng said there was a misunderstanding about the since-deleted social media post on her verified account on Weibo, China's Twitter-like social media platform, which detailed the allegations on November 2.
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