Peng Shuai: Chinese Media Claims Missing Tennis Star Will Make Public Appearance ’Soon’
Chinese state media has claimed Peng Shuai is safe at home amid worldwide concerns for the missing tennis star.
Peng, a former doubles world number one and Wimbledon winner, hasn’t been seen in public since November 2. Worries over her whereabouts come after she accused Zhang Gaoli, a former Chinese vice premier, of sexually assaulting her in his home.
She wrote the allegations on her Weibo social media account, claiming the 75-year-old – who also became a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, China’s top decision-making body – coerced her into sex when she was ‘scared’, before an on-off consensual relationship.
Concerns became more heightened as China’s censors removed the original post and several references to Peng across the internet, as well as state media publishing an email supposedly written by the tennis player which says the allegations are ‘not true’ – however, many suspect she never wrote the email at all, or it doesn’t accurately reflect her views.
Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of the state-run Global Times newspaper, retweeted several photos of Peng seemingly ahead of the weekend, apparently shared by her friend. ‘I confirmed through my own sources today that these photos are indeed Peng Shuai’s current state,’ he wrote.
‘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.’
The photos have received hundreds of replies believing the photos to be old, or even staged. ‘She needs to do a live video for anyone to believe that. Those photos could have been taken weeks ago, and her friend shared them? And why did her friend have to share them? Don’t defend something you know little about,’ reporter Tommy Walker wrote.
Both Serena Williams and Andy Murray have urged the public to help find Peng, while the UN called on China to provide proof of her whereabouts.
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