Tennis player alleges rape, lodged complaint before meeting Chinese president

Written by James Attwood, CNN Chinese authorities have yet to respond to an allegation that tennis player Wang Qiang has been sexually assaulted in a hotel room after a competition in the Chinese city…

Tennis player alleges rape, lodged complaint before meeting Chinese president

Written by James Attwood, CNN

Chinese authorities have yet to respond to an allegation that tennis player Wang Qiang has been sexually assaulted in a hotel room after a competition in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The allegations — from one woman and accompanied by a photo of Wang passed out on the bed — have been made by a young athlete in China, in particular likely supporting Wang’s claims that her alleged assailant works for the Ministry of Sports.

‘Outrageous and criminal’

“Because of this, her peers felt very uneasy and were afraid to come out about the incident,” Wang told South China Morning Post

“There is a huge amount of pressure in China for young athletes to perform,” she said. “No one is afraid of admitting they are having problems in the weight room but they would not want to admit to an issue in their social life.”

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Wang Qiang is still considered one of the sport’s rising stars. Credit: Manish Swarup/AP

The British-trained athlete said the unnamed assailant had a camera taken of her and could later circulate her revealing photos online, according to a report from the South China Morning Post. The athlete is said to have lodged a complaint about the alleged assault and wished to remain anonymous.

The alleged assault is the latest in a series of high-profile accusations of abuse against Chinese athletes, including swimmer Shi Dongpeng, who was accused of rape, extortion and sabotage after a female police officer in the Chinese capital was said to have been hospitalised following a one-night stand with him.

Wang Qiang, a 19-year-old tennis player from China, lost in the doubles final of the China Open in Wuhan, but her sister alleged that a bouncer offered cash to settle a non-payment with her. Credit: Thomas Peter/HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

The claim has not been independently verified.

Earlier this year, International Olympic Committee ethics committee officials visited the capital of the southern city of Guangzhou to investigate claims that an associate of then-president Xi Jinping sexually assaulted a teenage gymnast after a competition.

It was the most public use of such an investigation since IOC President Thomas Bach brought forward his own sexual harassment investigation into the IOC top brass in 2015.

Wang Qiang is still considered one of the sport’s rising stars. The 21-year-old won Olympic doubles bronze in Rio 2016 with partner Peng Shuai, making them the first Chinese team to win an Olympic tennis medal.

Sexual assault in China is not uncommon, particularly as sports careers in the country are short.

“The government is very interested in ensuring that there are good values in sport,” David Fennell, a University of Southern California professor and an expert on women in sport, told the AFP.

“With large groups of athletes, people think that there’s plenty of time for inappropriate behavior.”

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