Chinese media releases video, photos of missing tennis star Peng Shuai

After reports that Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai was missing, Chinese media has released videos and photos of her to prove she is doing fine.

Earlier this month, Peng accused the former vice-premier of sexually assaulting her three years ago. The original post was removed from Weibo, but the story was still widely shared across the country. Last week, however, reports emerged that Peng was missing, a claim the state has denied.

Several photos and videos have been released in the past week showing Peng, seemingly doing well. One video showed her in a video conference with Olympic officials. Another showed her watching a tennis match over the weekend. Last week, the Chinese state media released an email that is supposedly from Peng. 

Shen Shiwei, a state TV employee, shared photos of Peng on Twitter, supposedly shared by her friend on WeChat. Shen also shared two different videos of her on Twitter, one of which was of her, her coach, and others having dinner. The conversation of the video was regarding tennis and Peng seems to be relaxed in it. Some say the video appears to be staged, as a woman in the video corrects someone else who says, “Tomorrow is November 20.”

The Women’s Tennis Association has demanded proof of Peng’s wellbeing. “I am glad to see the videos released by China state-run media that appear to show Peng Shuai at a restaurant in Beijing,” WTA chief Steve Simon said in a statement. “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.”

Tennis legend Roger Federer told Sky Italia, “She’s one of our tennis champions, a former world No. 1, and clearly it’s concerning. I hope she’s safe.” Several other notable tennis players, such as Serena Williams, Billie Jean King, Novak Djokovic, Naomi Osaka, and Andy Murray have voiced their concern on social media. The WTA has threatened to pull matches from China if sufficient proof of Peng’s wellbeing is not provided.

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