Peng Shuai, a Chinese tennis star missing since November 2, may appear in public at a sporting event in Beijing (China).
Dressed in a navy sports jacket and white sweatpants, Peng Shuai is seen in photos from the Fila Kids Junior Tennis Challenger final, posted on the official China Open Weibo account. This is his first public appearance since allegations of sexual abuse were widely censored on the Chinese Internet.
A staged video?
A Global Times reporter tweeted another video, in which Peng is seen signing autographs for the children at the same stadium before being photographed with them. Mr Hu, who claims a certain closeness to power, also posted two videos of the player “having dinner with his coach and friends at a restaurant” on the player’s evening in Beijing and filmed on the same day, he said. .
Another bleak video of Peng Shuai (彭帥) is being heavily pushed by Chinese state media, including. Hu Zijin, editor of the Global Times. Again, Peng is shown neither speaking nor performing any action other than simple movements and gestures. unreliable. #WhereIsPengShuai pic.twitter.com/8K1KVxenaM
— Jack Hazlewood (@JackHazlewood) November 21, 2021
AFP was unable to confirm the location or circumstances in which the footage was shot. And Hu Zijin made no reference to it in Chinese on his Weibo account. In the images, Peng Shuai is surrounded by two women with whom he shares food and wine in a noisy place. A man is sitting in front of the player and the conversation is about “matches”.
“Tomorrow is November 20th” (Saturday), he said, before being interrupted by one of the guests: “It is November 21st” (tomorrow is Sunday).
The exchange, which appears to be staged, is filmed in the evening on a cell phone by an unidentified man. Peng Shuai is easy to see.
WTA threatens China
The Chinese #MeToo movement had not yet reached the highest levels of the ruling Communist Party, until Peng was held responsible for the position. These were immediately removed from the Weibo platform and since then there have been concerns about Zhang’s safety. In a statement released on Saturday, WTA President Steve Simon found it “positive” to see the athlete, but “video alone is not enough” to show that he is “independent in his decisions and actions.” He guessed.
The WTA has threatened to terminate a lucrative contract with China if it does not listen to Peng’s safety.
Already on Wednesday, Chinese public television CGTN caused trouble by revealing screenshots of an email attributed to Peng Shuai. The channel then told foreign viewers that the Chinese player had personally sent it to the management of the WTA, which manages the professional women’s tennis circuit.
China is silent
On CNN, his boss Steve Simon expressed his concern on Thursday about the message in which Champion declared his allegations against Zhang Gaoli to be “false.” “I can’t believe that’s true at all,” Simon said, calling the email “staged.” Four purportedly recent snapshots of the tennis champion were later published by the Twitter account @shen_shiwei, which was labeled by the social network as “media affiliated with the Chinese state”.
AFP was unable to independently establish when these photos were taken and a request for clarification from the account’s author went unanswered. The Chinese government has repeatedly declined to comment on the matter. Discussions of allegations on China’s tightly controlled internet are closed.
A growing number of voices in the sports world and beyond want to know where and how Peng is. Britain on Saturday night urged China to “immediately provide verifiable evidence of its security and whereabouts”. The United Nations has also sought evidence that she is doing well, and several countries, including the United States and France, have expressed “concern” as the hashtag #WhereisPengShuai (#whereestPengShuai) spread as wildfire on social networks. Is.
Some of tennis’ biggest names have spoken out in this regard, including Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka. Roger Federer also spoke to Sky News on Saturday, saying: “She’s one of our tennis champions, the former world number one. Obviously it’s worrying. I hope she’s safe.”
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