Ex-Chinese official makes first appearance since tennis star Peng Shuai’s sexual assault complaint

BEIJING (Reuters) – Former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli made his first public appearance on Sunday (October 16th) since Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai accused him of sexual assault at the 20th Congress last year. of the Communist Party.

Zhang, 75, took the stage at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing behind President Xi Jinping and other retired and current leaders, and sat in the front row of the podium for the opening of the meeting of twice a decade.

He has made no public comment on the accusation.

Peng took to social media in November in a post that was quickly deleted from the internet in China. She later denied making the charge.

Her post led the Women’s Tennis Association to suspend tournaments in China and caused an international outcry over her safety.

Zhang was among a number of prominent figures, including Xi’s immediate predecessor, Hu Jintao, who joined the party general secretary on stage in a traditional show of unity at the opening of a meeting. a week that is expected to renew Xi’s leadership for a third term, cementing his position as China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong.