“Certain people” should stop the “malicious hyping” of the issue of tennis star Peng Shuai, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a regular press briefing on Tuesday.

He said the issue of Peng Shuai should not be politicized.

Peng alleged on social media three weeks ago that former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli had sexually assaulted her.

Public activities

Shuai has attended public activities recently, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said on Monday.

Peng had disappeared from public view since she alleged on social media on November 2 that former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli had coerced her into sex and they later had an on-off consensual relationship.

Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the state-backed Global Times, posted a 25-second video on Twitter on Sunday that showed Peng smiling, waving and autographing giant tennis balls for children at the Fila Kids Junior Tennis Challenger Finals tournament.

Peng also had a video call on Sunday with the president of the International Olympic Committee and told him she was safe and well, the IOC said after Western governments expressed mounting concern for her well-being.