China, tennis player Peng Shuai appears in images of a public event in Beijing

Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, who disappeared since the beginning of the month after accusing former vice premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault, appeared for the first time in public at a tennis tournament in Beijing. A video from the event shows the athlete standing in a stadium among a group of guests whose names are announced amid applause. The movie was tweeted by Hu Xijin, editor of the newspaper Global Times, tabloid produced by the official Chinese Communist Party newspaper, the People’s Daily. According to reports to Reuters from a spokesperson for the Women’s Tennis Association, the photos and videos of the Chinese tennis star that appeared in the last few hours are not enough to reassure the woman’s fate.

The photos and videos

The video comes after a few photos – the authenticity of which has not been independently verified – released by the Twitter account @shen_shiwei, labeled by the social network as “media affiliated with the Chinese state”, and after international pressure to obtain information on his health. Peng, also in the photos published on the official Weibo account of the China Open, appears in a blue jacket and white sports pants at the Fila Kids Junior Tennis Challenger Finals. A reporter from the Global Times tweeted another video showing Peng signing autographs for children in what appears to be the same stadium, before posing for photos with them.

Great Britain’s appeal

Shortly before the videos appeared, Britain had urged China to provide “verifiable evidence” regarding “safety and whereabouts” Peng Shuai. “We are extremely concerned about the apparent disappearance of Peng Shuai and are following the case closely,” the foreign ministry said in a statement, adding that Beijing “should urgently provide verifiable evidence regarding his safety and whereabouts. is situated”. The two-time Grand Slam doubles champion hadn’t been seen publicly since she claimed former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli “forced” her to have sex during an extramarital affair lasting several years. His passing sparked a global outcry, including from tennis superstars and the United Nations.