A well-connected Chinese state media editor, Hu Xijin, the editor of the Global Times, weighed in on the scandal involving Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai and her accusation of sexual assault by a former vice premier,

“As a person who is familiar with the Chinese system, I don’t believe Peng Shuai has received retaliation and repression as  speculated by foreign media for the thing people talked about”

Neither Zhang nor the Chinese government have commented on her allegation, but Peng’s social media post on Weibo was quickly deleted and the subject has been blocked from discussion on China’s heavily censored internet.

The Global Times is published by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, and the influential Hu is permitted an active presence on Twitter, which is blocked in China.

Hu often posts anti-American  tweets from a uniquely high profile position in China’s tightly controlled state media.

Hu made no comment about the Peng Shuai controversy on his official Weibo account.