The months-long campaign "Where is Peng Shuai" got an unexpected end. The Chinese tennis player, who has literally disappeared since she posted on social media in early November and deleted a post accusing Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli of sexual abuse, gave her first subsequent interview to a serious and independent media and told the respected L'Equipe that everything this only - a huge misunderstanding.
L'Equipe reporters, who arrived in Beijing for the Winter Olympics, contacted the 36-year-old tennis player through the Chinese Olympic Committee. They were the only ones to ask for an interview and get it. Provided that Peng Shuai speaks exclusively Chinese.
She was translated - although she speaks excellent English - by a man from the Olympic Committee.
Part of the interviews about tennis, the Olympics, and similar topics - quite common. This main part, she talked about her mysterious disappearance - completely in the fog.
Recall, Peng Shuai accused Zhang Gaoli of sexual abuse in early November, half an hour later the post disappeared from the Chinese social network Weibo, and then Peng Shuai herself disappeared. She claims that she has not disappeared.
And that she never even accused Gaoli of sexual assault. And that all this is just a huge misunderstanding. She is grateful for the whole campaign "Where is Peng Shuai?", Although she thinks that it was simply exaggerated.
"I did not think people would be so worried. I would like to know: why so much care? ”She wondered. She added that she deleted the controversial post after 30 minutes because she "wanted it that way" "I hope we will not distort the meaning of that post anymore.
And I hope we will not exaggerate this case further… I never said that he sexually assaulted me ”. In that famous, November post, it was written that she was in an occasional relationship with Zhang. They used to have sex with consent.
Peng Shuai explains everything
There used to be no consent. Before the interview, she spoke to L'Equipe for a state media from Singapore, back in December, but considering that the state media did not trust her at all.
In L'Equipe, she confirmed everything that was said then, although many in the Western world doubted that some of her earlier appearances were simply staged. And while people in China could not even post under the hashtag "tennis", Peng Shuai says she has never disappeared.
"It's just a lot of people, my friends, people from the International Olympic Committee… They all wrote to me and it was impossible to respond to so many messages," Peng said, adding that she could not log in to the WTA tour communication system.
She only asked people not to mix sports and politics or to continue to call for a boycott of the Winter Olympics, which was one of the proposals during the "Where is Peng Shuai" campaign. "My emotional problem, my private life, should not interfere with sports and politics.
Sport should not be politicized. Because when we do, we turn our backs on the Olympic spirit ", concluded Peng Shuai. The world has hardly read a stranger interview.