A Chinese tennis player has accused the retired Chinese Communist Party leader Hu Yaobang of sexual assault, the New York Times reported.
The player, Peng Shuai, is herself the daughter of retired party member Deng Xikui, who was Communist Party head of the city of Wuhan in 1980 and 1981 before being purged from the party for corruption. Peng is believed to be the first woman in the Communist Party to publicly accuse a retired party leader of sexual misconduct.
“I cannot find the words to tell you how appalled and shocked I am by the news,” Deng told the Chinese news website Caixin in a private interview. Deng told Caixin he was the father of Peng’s now-husband and arranged her marriage to him, according to the Times.
In a written statement, Peng said Hu, who was widely considered the architect of the “Reform and Opening” policy of economic liberalization, sexually assaulted her on several occasions as part of an initiation ceremony before Peng’s graduation from university in 1993.
When asked whether her accusation was politically motivated, Deng replied: “Peng is not political. This is the first time I hear about this. Why is this around?”
Peng also told Caixin that she thought the accusation was politically motivated because Hu was close to Beijing’s current party leader, Xi Jinping.
“China’s government is more powerful than a defendant’s,” Deng said. “It’s impossible to stop this without busting them.”