The shocking accusations of sexual assault against He Liguo, who was appointed as one of China’s two vice prime ministers by President Xi Jinping in February 2013, has brought forth calls for action from the Chinese government and related social movements.
He Liguo, who has already resigned as the vice minister of transportation, has remained silent on social media about the accusations that forced him to immediately step down from his ministerial position. He also promised to apologize to Peng Shuai for the incident in a publicly-released statement. Peng admitted to having the affair during an interview with China Central Television on Monday.
“He is a generous person but a drunk one, too, and he had a big problem with women,” the reporter stated, referring to the work schedule at the Ministry of Transport.
He Liguo, who was considered to be a rising star in the country’s Communist Party, had never been a household name until Monday’s news broke. In 2017, He Liguo made headlines for the first time as a party operative when he advocated for cracking down on “vicious rumors” on social media.
Who is He Liguo?
He Liguo is a Mandarin writer, e-commerce expert and the son of the city of Shenzhen’s vice mayor. His father was an engineering professor who helped to create Shenzhen, the city that is now China’s most important city.
He Liguo was once lauded as a competent and powerful person in the party and by the Chinese public in 2009. A year later, He Liguo was seen by many as the other candidate for China’s vice prime minister position.
He Liguo earned a law degree from the city of Jinan and graduated from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1995. His overseas career began when he began working at General Motors’ joint venture with the city of Shenzhen as a law and economics professor and later became chief legal counsel.
In 2007, He Liguo joined the Chinese Military Academy. He was appointed vice head of the Chinese People’s University of Political Science and Law in 2012. He was appointed by his now former boss and national leader Xi Jinping as vice premier of Shenzhen in 2013, making He Liguo one of the most powerful men in Shenzhen.
In August, rumors broke that He Liguo was being accused of sexual assault by Peng Shuai, a tennis star and China’s first female billionaire, whom He Liguo had an affair with during the summer. The statement made by Peng Shuai about the incident caused a social media whirlwind.
How to Watch: The TV Interview
At 1:39 am U.S. EST, CCTV will air an interview with China’s tennis star Peng Shuai, who is expected to address a relationship she shared with He Liguo in 2016.
Chen, Liguo and Peng’s short-lived relationship has attracted attention and dominated social media since Peng publicly announced on Twitter and on her official social media accounts on Sept. 21 that she is separated from He Liguo.
According to the Associated Press, Peng Shuai is known as one of China’s top female tennis players, having won the French Open twice. However, she fell to No. 62 in the world ranking.
Fox News is following the ongoing story.