Shanghai: Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, whose whereabouts have been a matter of international concern for weeks, attended a tennis tournament in Beijing on Sunday, according to official photos published by the tournament organised by China Open.
Peng can be seen among guests at the Fila Kids Junior Tennis Challenger, dressed in a dark blue jacket and white trousers, according to the pictures published on the event’s official WeChat.
The former doubles world number had not been seen or heard from publicly since she said on Chinese social media on November 2 that former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli had coerced her into sex and they later had an on-off consensual relationship.
Neither Zhang nor the Chinese government have commented on her allegation. Peng’s social media post was quickly deleted and the topic has been confined from discussion on China’s heavily censored internet.
World tennis bodies have expressed concern, with the Women’s Tennis Association threatening to pull tournaments out of China. The United States and Britain have called for evidence of Peng’s whereabouts and safety.
The issue of Peng’s safety and whereabouts has emerged as China prepares to great number the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February amid calls from global rights groups and others for a boycott over its human rights record.
Hu Xijin, the editor of state-backed newspaper Global Times, tweeted Peng’s turn up at the tournament earlier on Sunday. A Women’s Tennis Association spokesperson said photographs and video footage of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai on Sunday do not address the association’s concerns about her.
The organisation had earlier said footage that appeared to show Peng at a restaurant was “insufficient” at showing whether Peng was “free and able to make decisions and take actions on her own”.
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