Peng Shuai is featured in photos from the Fila Kids Junior Tennis Challenger Finals, posted on the official China Open Weibo account. This is his first public appearance since his accusations of sexual abuse were widely censored on the Chinese internet.
After a global outcry
Following a global outcry, including from tennis stars and the United Nations, Chinese state media published a series of footage supposedly showing that all is well for the former World No. double. A video of the event, posted on Twitter by Hu Xijin, influential editor of the “Global Times”, shows her standing in the middle of a group of guests whose names are announced to the applauding audience.
He who claims a certain proximity to power also published in the evening two videos of the player “having dinner with her coach and friends in a restaurant” in Beijing and toured the same day, according to him.
But, for the time being, AFP is not able to confirm the location or the conditions in which the images were shot. And Hu Xijin makes no reference to it on his Weibo account in Chinese.
A staged exchange?
In the images, Peng Shuai is surrounded by two women with whom she shares a meal and wine in a noisy place. A man is seated opposite the player and the conversation is about “games”. “Tomorrow is November 20,” he said, before being interrupted by one of the guests: “It’s the 21”. The exchange, which seems to be staged, is filmed in the evening on a cell phone by an unidentified person. Peng Shuai appears relaxed there.
“Not enough” proof
In a statement, Steve Simon, president of the WTA, found it “positive” to see the athlete, but “the video alone is not enough” to show that she is “free in her decisions and actions” , he estimated.
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