China ex-official makes first appearance since sexual assault claim by tennis star Peng Shuai
BEIJING: Chinese former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli made his first public appearance on Sunday (Oct 16) since Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai accused him of sexual assault last year, attending the 20th Communist Party Congress.
Zhang, 75, walked onstage 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 twice-a-decade meeting.
He has made no public comment on the accusation.
Peng made her accusation on social media in November in a post that was soon scrubbed from China’s internet. She later denied having made the accusation.
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 senior figures, including Xi’s immediate predecessor, Hu Jintao, who joined the party general secretary onstage in a traditional show of unity at the opening of a week-long meeting expected to renew Xi’s leadership for a third term, cementing his position as China’s strongest ruler since Mao Zedong.