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Leader accused by tennis player personified power in Beijing elite

FILE – China’s Peng Shuai serves to Japan’s Nao Hibino during their first round singles match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, on Jan. 21, 2020. China’s Foreign Ministry is sticking to its line that it isn’t aware of the controversy surrounding tennis professional Peng Shuai, who disappeared after accusing a former top official of sexually assaulting her. A ministry spokesperson said Friday that the matter was not a diplomatic question and that he was not aware of the situation. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill, File) FP107 FP107

The allegation from Peng Shuai, the professional tennis player, has cast Zhang Gaoli’s private life under a blaze of international attention, making him a symbol of a political system that prizes secrecy and control over open accountability.

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