Peng Shuai denies making accusation of sexual assault

Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai denied she ever accused someone of sexual assault in an interview with a French newspaper. L'Equipe.

She told L'Equipe that she herself had deleted the social media post in November that made the claim.

The well-being of Peng, a three-time Olympian, became a matter of global concern in November.

That's when she appeared to allege on social media that a former Chinese vice premier, Zhang Gaoli, had sexually assaulted her in the past.

However, in an interview with the newspaper in a hotel in Beijing she said it was a quote "huge misunderstanding."

She added that she did not want "any further media hype" about it.

Peng's social media post, deleted quickly after it was posted on China's Twitter-like Weibo, led the Women's Tennis Association to suspend tournaments in China.

It sparked an international outcry about her safety.

On Saturday the International Olympic Committee had a face to face meeting over dinner in Beijing with Peng.

Peng Shuai informed the President that she would attend several events at the Winter Olympics over the coming days, according to an IOC statement.

She said she intended to travel to Europe when the pandemic is over.

Discussion of the scandal has been heavily censored in China's tightly controlled cyberspace and searches for Peng's name on Weibo continue to show no recent search results.