Stock Groups

Photos of missing Chinese tennis star posted online


China’s Peng Shai plays the ball in a practice session before the Australian Open tennis tournament, which takes place in Melbourne on January 13th 2019.

AFP – Getty Images| AFP | Getty Images

In an effort to dispel concerns over Peng Shuai’s disappearance, a Chinese state TV employee has uploaded photos online of the tennis star Peng Shuai. She had previously accused a senior leader in China of sexual assault.

They were uploaded to Twitter Friday and cannot be viewed by Chinese internet users. Shen Shiwei (a state TV employee) wrote that they were visiting Peng’s WeChat account with the comment “Happy Weekend”.

Tensions are rising between tennis players and professional athletes for Peng’s safety. Peng is a former No. 1 and three-time Olympian. Let Peng speak and be safe.

In the meantime, Peng was being announced by Peng’s editor in a party newspaper.

This is a politically sensitive issue as Beijing prepares to host the Winter Olympics in February. On Friday, a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry denied that Peng was involved in the controversy over Peng’s disappearance.

Peng (35), has not been seen since she posted a social media statement accusing Zhang Gaoli of making Peng have sex with him despite repeatedly refusing to consent.

Shen is employed by CGTN (the English-language division of China Central Television) which is aimed at international audiences. He posted the tweet after CGTN distributed a statement that claimed it was Peng and which later retracts Zhang’s accusations.

Global Times’ editor, an English language newspaper published by Communist Party, stated that he verified from unidentified sources the photos are indeed Peng Shuai’s current state.

Hu Xijin wrote, “In the recent days, she remained in her own house freely and she did not want to be disturbed.” She will soon be seen in public, and she’ll take part in activities.

Peng was photographed with a grey cat, holding a panda figurine and in a private residence with many stuffed animals behind. The date of the photographs were not indicated.

Steve Simon, chairman and chief executive officer of Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), reacted on Saturday to the video purporting that it showed the tennis player dining at a restaurant.

The videos that China state media released seem to show Peng Shuai dining at a Beijing restaurant. Although it’s encouraging to see Peng Shuai, it’s not clear whether she can make independent decisions or take action on her own without being coerced. Simon explained that just the video was not sufficient.

As I stated at the outset, Peng Shuai is still in my thoughts. The allegation that Peng Shuai was sexually assaulted has been censored. Our relationship with China is in a difficult place.

Simon is threatening to withdraw the WTA’s China events. It means nearly a dozen events in China next year, which includes the WTA Finals.