Videos claim to show missing Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai out with friends

 Videos claim to show missing Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai out with friends

New footage purporting to show Peng Shuai emerged on Saturday might amid claims from Chinese state media that she will “soon” appear in public. 

The former number one doubles player featured in two clips to social media on Saturday amid worldwide pressure to establish her whereabouts. 

Hu Xijin, editor of The Global Times, which supports China’s ruling Communist Party, tweeted: “I acquired two video clips, which show Peng Shuai was having dinner with her coach and friends in a restaurant. 

“The video content clearly shows they are shot on Saturday Beijing time.” 

Neither video has been independently verified. The journalist also claimed Peng, who has not been seen since she made allegations of sexual misconduct against Zhang Gaoli, a former vice-premier of China, on Nov 2, has remained at her residence. 

“In the past few days, she stayed in her own home freely and she didn’t want to be disturbed. She will show up in public and participate in some activities soon,” he added. 

The development came after the White House and the United Nations joined calls to locate Peng. On Saturday, the All England Lawn Tennis Club also joined calls for China to prove Peng’s safety. “We are united with the rest of tennis in the need to understand that Peng Shuai is safe. We have been working in support of the WTA’s efforts to establish her safety through our relationships behind the scenes,” it said in a statement. 

The Women’s Tennis Association has threatened to pull out of the lucrative Chinese part of its tour next season unless it is proved that Peng is safe, and despite chairman and chief executive Steve Simon welcoming the video of the former Wimbledon doubles champion, he insisted their position remains unchanged.

“I am glad to see the videos released by China state-run media that appear to show Peng Shuai at a restaurant in Beijing,” said Simon. “While it is positive to see her, it remains unclear if she is free and able to make decisions and take actions on her own, without coercion or external interference. 

“This video alone is insufficient. As I have stated from the beginning, I remain concerned about Peng Shuai’s health and safety and that the allegation of sexual assault is being censored and swept under the rug. I have been clear about what needs to happen and our relationship with China is at a crossroads.”

Since Peng’s disappearance, a growing number of players and organisations have raised concern about Peng’s welfare, including Naomi Osaka, Andy Murray and Serena Williams.

On Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said: “We are deeply concerned by reports that Peng Shuai appears to be missing.”

“We join in the calls for authorities (in China) to provide independent and verifiable proof of her whereabouts.”

Liz Throssell, the spokesman for the UN Human Rights Office, added: “We would urge that there be an investigation with full transparency into her allegations of sexual assault.”

Beijing authorities had previously released a letter purporting to be from Peng claiming “everything is fine”,  which was greeted with universal scepticism.

A spokesperson for the International Olympic Committee declined to comment, with Beijing hosting the Winter Olympics in February.

Related post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *