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
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,"
"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'
"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
'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)