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Zhang Gaoli’s Alleged Sex Assault of Peng Shuai Included in US Bipartisan Resolution

Lucy Crawford
Born and raised in China, Lucy Crawford has been living in Canada for over 20 years. She has great sympathy for Chinese and human suffering in general. With a Master's degree in Education and having worked on various professions, she now translates and writes about stories in ancient and modern China. She lives in Calgary with her husband and four children.
Published: December 6, 2021
BEIJING, CHINA - MARCH 16: China's newly-elected Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli attends the sixth plenary meeting of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People on March 16, 2013 in Beijing, China. The new lineup of China's State Council, nominated by Premier Li Keqiang, was endorsed by lawmakers at the ongoing national legislative session Saturday afternoon. (Image: Feng Li/Getty Images)

The sexual assault allegations against former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli by professional tennis player Peng Shuai continue to rage in the international community. In a rare move, members of both parties in the United States introduced a bipartisan resolution that included the alleged sexual assault by Zhang Gaoli and seeks to hold the International Olympic Committee (IOC) accountable for helping the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) cover up the truth.

On Dec. 3, Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) and Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL) jointly introduced a resolution condemning the IOC for cooperating with the CCP government in covering up the truth about the incident involving Peng Shuai.

The resolution states that, in a now deleted post on Chinese social media Weibo, Peng Shuai said she had been sexually assaulted and forced to have a relationship with Zhang Gaoli, who was a senior official in the CCP from 2013 to 2018 and was the Executive Vice Premier of the CCP State Council.

The resolution condemns the IOC’s role in the Peng incident as a cover-up attempt by the Chinese Communist government, and questions the IOC’s ability and willingness to hold the perpetrators accountable and protect the athletes participating in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games.

READ MORE: China’s Silence on Peng Shuai Shows Cracks in Beijing’s Propaganda Apparatus

Previously, IOC President Bach held a video call with Peng on Nov. 21 in an attempt to tell the outside world that Peng was safe.

In a statement, Democratic Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton said, “The IOC’s decision to participate in this cover-up is alarming and demonstrates a dangerous lack of regard for basic human rights and the safety of athletes.”

Republican Congressman Waltz emphasized that “The world is watching as the IOC whitewashes Peng Shuai’s confinement, the Chinese Communist Party’s genocide of the Uighurs, and the repression of democratic rights in Hong Kong and Tibet.”

Members of both parties called for an independent and transparent investigation into Peng’s allegations of sexual assault, to bring an end to censorship of Peng’s speech, and to restore Peng’s personal freedoms, including allowing her to leave China.

The resolution is the first time that the sexual assault scandal involving retired CCP official Zhang Gaoli has been included in a bipartisan motion in the United States.

WTA suspends all tournaments in China

On Dec.1, just two days before the U.S. Congress made the resolution, the World Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) announced that it would be suspending all tournaments in China and Hong Kong, effective immediately.

In a statement released on the same day, WTA President Steve Simon said he has been concerned about Peng’s safety following her allegations of sexual assault by former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.

READ MORE: WTA Officially Pulls Out of China Over Peng Shuai Disappearance

The U.S. Department of State said on Dec. 3 that the U.S. supports the WTA’s decision to cancel the tournament in China and hasn’t found any evidence of facts that would guarantee Peng’s personal safety.

At a sensitive moment when Beijing is about to host the Winter Olympics, Zhang Gaoli’s sexual assault incident has plunged the IOC and Beijing authorities into a wave of international criticism and added weight to the Western countries’ boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics.

U.S. President Joe Biden and the Secretary of State said earlier that they were considering a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics with their Western allies, which would mean that no U.S. government officials would participate in the Beijing Winter Olympics however athletes would compete.