Fresh footage of the Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai has emerged online as concerns over her wellbeing persist outside the country.
Op Sondag, Qingqing Chen, 'n senior joernalis by die staatsbeheerde Global Times, posted a seven-second video clip of Peng on her Twitter account.
Daarin, Peng is seen apparently in conversation with two other people, one of whom is the Chinese basketball player Yao Ming. Peng is shown giggling as she listens to Yao speaking. Peng is the only one of the three not wearing a face mask.
“A friend sent me this video showing Chinese tennis star player Peng Shuai talked [sic] with Yao Ming, one of the most beloved players in @NBA geskiedenis, this morning at an event ‘FIS Cross-Country Skiing China City Tour’ in Shanghai,” Chen wrote.
The 35-year-old former world doubles No 1 is one of China’s best-known athletes internationally. She became the centre of a global media storm last month after posting a now-deleted lengthy essay on the social media platform Weibo in which she accused a Chinese former senior official of having coerced her into sex. She was then not seen in public for more than two weeks.
Peng’s post caused concern over her wellbeing internationally. It led fellow tennis stars, including Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams, to demand to know the whereabouts of Peng, under the hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai on Twitter.
The incident also unleashed a global storm of criticism of China. As gevolg daarvan, the Women’s Tennis Association announced its suspension of future tournaments in China early this month. Rights organisations seized on the opportunity to call for a boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics.
On the same day as Chen’s video clip emerged, Ding Li, who claims to be Peng’s friend, also posted a series of photos of the tennis player in Shanghai.
In one of the photos, Ding, Yao, Peng and two other Chinese athletes – the Olympic sailing champion Xu Lijia and the retired table tennis player Wang Liqin – are seen standing next to a banner for the “FIS Cross-Country Skiing China City Tour” with Shanghai’s Yangpu bridge in the background.
The Shanghai stop of the cross-country ski tour took place on Saturday, according to the state-run CGTN news site.
As China gears up for the Winter Olympics in February, controversies over its human rights record continue to fester. Many observers outside the country insist Peng is not genuinely free, despite attempts by state media to create this impression.
Chinese diplomats condemned unnamed people of “malicious hyping” of the Peng saga.