Peng Shuai case: what we know about the disappearance of the former Chinese tennis champion

the essential Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai has not given any sign of life since November 2, after she brought charges of sexual assault to the against a former vice premier of President Xi Jinping.

Disappeared after a statement on social media

Peng Shuai, winner in duplicate of Roland Garros in 550, published at the beginning of the month of November, a shattering statement on Weibo, a Chinese social network. The player explains that she was sexually assaulted by Xi Jinping’s former Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli in 2018. China quickly blocked any reference to this message. Since then, the player has not given any more news.

The WTA, the organization that oversees the women’s professional circuit, finally spoke on Sunday in a statement through the intermediary of its CEO Steve Simon, indicating that “the recent events in China concerning a WTA player, Peng Shuai, are of great concern”.

News in a statement

After days of silence, the young Chinese woman reportedly gave news, according to the Chinese state channel CGTN. Chinese television published this Wednesday November evening an email that the sportswoman would have communicated to the management of the WTA.

In this press release, the tennis player would have changed his tune: “The information, in particular concerning the accusation of sexual assault, is false, the player would affirm. Thank you again for hearing from me. “

The authenticity is however very difficult to verify:” If she was forced to write it down, if someone wrote it down for her, we don’t know but until we talk to him in person we will not be reassured “said Steve Simon, head of the WTA.

Concerned international community

Several countries, including the United States and France, said Friday they were “concerned” about the fate of the Chinese player. The UN has asked for evidence confirming that Peng Shuai is doing well, as the hashtag #WhereisPengShuai (# WhereestPengShuai) spread like wildfire on social media. International player Serena Williams said she was “devastated and shocked” on the viral hashtag.

The star of world tennis, the American Serena Williams, said she was “devastated and shocked” by the disappearance of Peng Shuai this Thursday 18 November on Twitter.

I am devastated and shocked to hear about the news of my peer, Peng Shuai. I hope she is safe and found as soon as possible. This must be investiga ted and we must not stay silent. Sending love to her and her family during this incredibly difficult time. #whereispengshuai

— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) November 18, 2021

Mysterious photos on the Internet

Friday 18 November, four recent pictures of the champion tennis were published by the Twitter account @shen_shiwei, labeled “media affiliated with the Chinese state” by the social network. The Twitter account in question affirms in English that these photos were posted privately by the player on a social network to wish “good weekend” to her contacts.

However, difficult to know if these four photographs of the player were taken in the last few hours. In order to allay concerns, the journalist close to the Chinese government said this Saturday 19 on Twitter: “In recent days, she has stayed at she freely and she did not want to be disturbed. She will appear in public and soon participate in some activities “

I confirmed through my own sources today that these photos are indeed Peng Shuai’s current state. In the past few days, she stayed in her own home freely and she didn’t want to be disturbed. She will show up in public and participate in some activities soon.

— Hu Xijin 胡锡 进 (@HuXijin_GT) November 20, 2021

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