Concerns over the fate of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai are still acute. More than a month after the sportswoman’s accusations against a former senior Chinese leader, a journalist from a Chinese state media revealed new, unauthenticated images of her on Sunday, December 19.
The video posted on Twitter by Qingqing Chen of the Global Times shows the 35-year-old former world No. 1 in doubles chatting with former basketball star Yao Ming. The journalist specifies that the video, shot during a Nordic skiing promotion event in Shanghai, was sent to her by “a friend”.
So happy to see some of these prominent Chinese sports stars, besides Yao Ming and Peng Shuai, also, Olympic sailing champion Xu Lijia and table tennis Wang Liqin, cheer for ice sports ahead of @ Beijing2022 pic.twitter.com/3xP5CyrPhX
– Qingqing_Chen (@qingqingparis) December 19, 2021
The photo shows Peng Shuai posing with Yao Ming, sailor Xu Lijia and former table tennis player Wang Liqin. Twitter is not normally accessible in China, where only people with a virtual private network (VPN) can access it. Many diplomats and state media, like the Global Times, however, have an account there, in order to ensure a Chinese presence.
This is not the first time that Chinese media have shared posts showing Peng Shuai, apparently free and well. The screenshot of an email assigned to her assuring that all was well with her has even been uploaded. But the authenticity of these documents is still in doubt today.
Missing for three weeks
In early November, the tennis player accused former Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli of raping her three years ago. Her message, posted on the Chinese social network Weibo, had not only been censored but, subsequently, the sportswoman had mysteriously disappeared for three weeks.
Since then, the WTA, which governs the women’s world tennis circuit, has canceled all its tournaments in China and calls for a transparent investigation into the accusations made by the young woman. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) spoke on several occasions by videoconference with Peng Shuai, saying that she seemed “to be safe and doing well, given the difficult situation in which she finds herself”.
But doubts persist about his treatment and many tennis figures, backed by the WTA, continue to demand more clarification and guarantees from China in this matter. Assuring to have offered “a very broad support” to the tennis player, the IOC promised to remain “in regular contact with her” and to meet her personally “in January”.