Missing Chinese tennis star appears at tournament amid global outcry

Advertisement

This comes after international pressure mounted for an investigation into Peng Shuai’s disappearance….reports Asian Lite News

Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, who claimed to have an affair with a former vice-premier, appeared at a Beijing tennis tournament on Sunday, as shown in photos published by the event’s organizer, Kyodo News reported.

This comes after international pressure mounted for an investigation into Peng Shuai’s disappearance.

Peng, 35, a doubles champion at Wimbledon and the French Open, accused former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault according to screenshots of a since-deleted Weibo post dated November 2.

Earlier, on Saturday (local time), a ‘new’ video was released by the Chinese state media in which Shuai was seen with her friends in a restaurant having dinner.

“I acquired two video clips, which show Peng Shuai was having dinner with her coach and friends in a restaurant. The video content clearly shows they are shot on Saturday Beijing time,” Global Times Editor in Chief Hu Xijint tweeted along with the video posted on Twitter.

This video comes after Hu said he had confirmed through his sources that photos shared on Twitter by Chinese state media, purportedly showing Peng at home, depicted her “current state”.

Peng speaks with IOC chief

Peng Shuai on Sunday said she was safe in Beijing during a video conference with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief, the organisation said, amid international concerns about her well being.

IOC President Thomas Bach spoke with three-time Olympian Peng Shuai. Bach was joined by the Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, Emma Terho, and IOC Member in China Li Lingwei, who has known Peng Shuai for many years from her time in the Chinese Tennis Federation.

At the beginning of the 30-minute call, Peng Shuai thanked the IOC for its concern about her well-being.

“She (Peng Shuai) explained that she is safe and well, living at her home in Beijing, but would like to have her privacy respected at this time. That is why she prefers to spend her time with friends and family right now. Nevertheless, she will continue to be involved in tennis, the sport she loves so much,” IOC said in a statement.

Emma Terho said that she was relieved to see that Peng Shuai was doing fine, which was IOC’s main concern. “She appeared to be relaxed. I offered her our support and to stay in touch at any time of her convenience, which she obviously appreciated,” she said.

At the end of the call, IOC President Bach invited Peng Shuai for a dinner once he arrives in Beijing next January, which she gladly accepted, and the two agreed to include Emma Terho and Li Lingwei, according to the IOC statement.

United Nations on Saturday called for an investigation into Peng Shuai’s disappearance while the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) is willing to lose hundreds of millions of dollars worth of business in China for the tennis player.

China is facing pressure from the UN over Chinese tennis stars’ whereabouts as the organization called for an investigation into her allegations of sexual assault, reported CNN.

Meanwhile, the White House on Friday said that it is “deeply concerned” about the reports Peng Shuai was appeared to be missing. “We are deeply concerned about reports that Peng Shuai appears to be missing after accusing a former PRC (Peoples Republic of China) senior official of sexual assaults. We join in the calls for PRC authorities to provide independent and verifiable proof of her whereabouts and that she is safe,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. (ANI)

ALSO READ: ‘Pakistan on frontlines of Afghan drug trade’