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Alleged Sexual Harassment Mars China's Image
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Allegations of sexual harassment and assault are marring China's image at the Doha Asian Games, the Qilu Evening News reported on Monday.
Last Wednesday morning, Zhou Mengmeng, member of the Chinese cue sports team, suddenly announced she was withdrawing from the cue sports semifinals.

The 19-year-old girl claimed her male teammate Tian Pengfei assaulted her in a hallway Friday night, hitting her in the stomach and causing her to lose her playing spirit, forcing her to withdraw from the semifinals.

Cue sports team leader and vice deputy of the China Cue Sports Centre, Wang Liwei, said "the case wasn't as serious as it had been reported to be, although Tian did to some extent bother Zhou."

Wang said Zhou was spending more time wandering around the sports hall chatting with foreign players than preparing for her matches. Tian tried to persuade her to prepare for the upcoming competition, but Zhou started arguing with him. Tian became emotional and argued back. .

According to reports Zhou wanted to date Tian, but his parents thought him too young to be part of a couple.

According to Wang, Tian sincerely apologized to Zhou at the time. The argument escalated, and Zhou and Tian began to scuffle, but "Zhou was by no means beaten black and blue as she claims," Wang said.

"For example, Zhou's nails were not broken by Tian, but were the result of Zhou hitting Tian," he said, noting that several teammates witnessed the incident.

The incident happened on Wednesday, and Chinese cue sports officers treated the matter seriously immediately alerting both Zhou and Tian's parents, who agreed to wait until after the Games to settle the matter, but Zhou went to the media with her version of events the next day.
Zhou's parents, surprised by the sudden media attention, changed their position overnight and claimed they were told their daughter was seriously beaten, Wang said. They indicated they would be contacting a lawyer.

Zhou told reporters "no one can persuade me to change my stance on Tian." There was no immediate comment on the allegations from Tian, a double gold winner in the men's doubles and team snooker events. Presently he is being protected inside the Doha Athletes' Village.

"Some of Zhou's words are not exact," Chinese cue sports team officer Zhang Xiaoning said of Zhou at a news conference on Saturday. "She is a teenager and is irresponsible and self-indulgent." "The centre will certainly punish them both when we return to China," Zhang added.

Numerous netizens have posted comments on sina.com since the gossip came out. Netizen 'Zidane' was sympathetic towards Zhou, saying she is too young to understand how to behave in society and could therefore be forgiven.

But another netizen, 'PK123', disagreed saying Tian is the real victim in this case, and that Zhou is using this as a publicity stunt.

'Niuniu' wrote he was "shocked. "Whether it is true or false, they have already caused the country to lose face, and destroyed our international image. The two teenagers may be excused because of their youth, but how about the sports officers? Aren't they responsible for supervising the teens and their conduct?"

(China Daily December 13, 2006)

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