Who is Zhang Gaoli, Chinese politician accused of abuse by tennis star?

Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai disappeared from the public scene in early November since she accused Zhang Gaoli, a former Communist Party leader, of sexual abuse.

Peng, 35, a two-time doubles Grand Slam champion, accused the police of forcing her to have sex at her home in a social media post that was deleted minutes later.

Zhang Gaoli hails from Jinjiang, Fujian Province, in the southeast of the country, according to China Vitae.

He was born in 1946, graduated from Xiamen University in 1970 with a specialization in planning and statistics from the Department of Economics, and joined the Communist Party of China in 1973, according to official information from the State Council.

A long political career in the Communist Party of China

Zhang Gaoli served on the Politiburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party, the country’s supreme governing body, from 2012 to 2017 during the first term of Chinese leader Xi Jinping. He retired as deputy prime minister in 2018.

Zhang held various positions in the Guangdong provincial party and government for about 12 years. He also held various party leadership positions in Shenzhen. And from 2002 to 2003, he was governor of Shandong Province.

Personal life

According to a 2013 report from the state-run Xinhua news agency, Zhang’s wife is Kang Jie, who was his colleague when the two worked at Maoming Oil Company in Guangdong.

In addition, the agency reports that he has a son who at the time was working in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, after graduating from a military academy.

In the deleted post on social media, Peng accused Zhang of forcing her to have sex and alleges a relationship for an intermittent period that lasted at least 10 years.

About three years ago, after Zhang retired, the publication claims he was the one who invited her to play tennis in Beijing. The athlete says Zhang and his wife took Peng home, where she was pressured to have sex with Zhang.

“That afternoon I didn’t agree at first and cried all the time,” wrote Peng. After having dinner with Zhang and his wife, and after persuasion, she relented, according to the publication.

Chinese authorities have so far refused to publicly acknowledge Peng’s accusations against Zhang.

Some of the sport’s biggest names have asked China to confirm their safety and investigate their allegations. Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) president and CEO Steve Simon has threatened to withdraw from China if Peng does not remain missing and his allegations not properly investigated.

THE CNN cannot independently verify the authenticity of the post.

(Translated text. Click here to read the original in Spanish)