Who is Zhang Gaoli? The man at the center of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai's #MeToo allegation

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Before retiring as vice premier, Zhang Gaoli was the face of China's organizing efforts ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Hong Kong (CNN)

He received International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach at the leadership compound in the Chinese capital in 2016, promising to make the Games "fantastic, extraordinary and excellent."

But now, three years into his retirement and less than three months before the Olympics, Zhang has found himself at the center of an explosive #MeToo scandal that has prompted global uproar -- amplifying calls for a boycott of the Games that he helped organize.

Zhang, 75, was accused earlier this month by Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, 35, of sexual assault at his home after he retired three years ago. The two-time Grand Slam doubles champion also alleged a relationship with Zhang over an intermittent period that spanned at least a decade.

"Why did you have to come back to me, took me to your home to force me to have sex with you?" Peng alleged in a since-deleted social media post dated November 2.

"I know that for someone of your eminence, Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, you said you were not afraid. But even if it's just me, like an egg hitting the stone, a moth flying into flames, courting self-destruction, I would tell the truth about us," she wrote.

Chinese authorities rushed to muffle Peng with blanket censorship . But as weeks went by, the women's tennis world began to demand answers as to Peng's whereabouts -- as well as a full investigation into her allegations against Zhang.

individuals working for Chinese government-controlled media and the state sports system released Amid growing global concern about her safety and well-being,individuals working forChinese government-controlled media and the state sports system released a stream of "proof of life" photos and videos of Peng

Bach, the IOC president who has been photographed with Zhang on at least one occasion, held a video call with Peng under the close watch of a Chinese sports official, during which the three-time Olympian insisted she is "safe and well" and wanted to have her…
Nectar Gan and Steve George, CNN
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