Missing Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai reappeared Sunday at a public event as the world grew concerned about her disappearance after accusing a Chinese official of sexual assault.
Peng made an appearance Sunday at a youth tournament in Beijing, according to footage posted by the China Open on Weibo. In the clip, Peng took pictures with players and signed tennis balls, making it appear as though everything is normal for the doubles tennis player. The post does not mention Peng's disappearance or her accusations of sexual assault.
Some photos of Peng Shuai attending a tennis event for kids were posted by China Open weibo account this morning without mentioning her name, then the weibo disappeared. Photos were posted again this afternoon. Some weibo comments 'it's fine she's safe.' pic.twitter.com/CvgSjibIBD— China Sports Vision 2050 (@CSV2050) November 21, 2021
Many, however, are not convinced that Shuai has been freed. "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," World Tennis Association Chairman and CEO Steve Simon said in a statement. "Our relationship with China is at a crossroads."
CONCERN GROWS FOR TENNIS PLAYER WHO ACCUSED CHINESE OFFICIAL OF SEXUAL ASSAULT
Peng previously went silent after posting details of a Chinese government official who had allegedly sexually assaulted her.
The doubles tennis player had posted a statement on Weibo in early November accusing Zhang Gaoli, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee of China, of coercing her into sex and a nonconsensual relationship. The post was deleted within 30 minutes, but not before screenshots were taken and shared across Chinese social media. The tennis player has since gone quiet.
The lack of updates involving Peng has attracted the attention of the United Nations, members of the U.S. Congress, WTA players, and other high-profile individuals. The WTA has threatened to pull out of China if Peng is not accounted for in the near future.
Chinese officials have posted several images and videos to assuage international concerns. Shen Shiwei, a Chinese state media account, posted several photos and videos of Peng on Saturday in somewhat normal circumstances.
These posts show Peng playing with her cat, eating dinner with friends, and other seemingly normal activities. Peng also reportedly emailed Simon saying "Everything was okay." However, Simon says he isn't convinced that the email came from Peng.
Peng Shuai’s WeChat moments just posted three latest photos and said “Happy weekend”.— Shen Shiwei沈诗伟 (@shen_shiwei) November 19, 2021
Her friend shared the three photos and the screenshot of Peng’s WeChat moments. pic.twitter.com/tut8CEH6gu
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The Chinese government has clamped down on the ability to discuss or share news of Shuai's status, reports the Guardian. This includes blocking keywords like "tennis," disabling comments on her account, and removing references to her from China's internet.
The Chinese government has not responded to any media requests about the allegation.