- In the “Peng Shuai” case, China is trying to placate global public opinion with videos of the tennis player who is believed to have disappeared.
- Over the weekend, Chinese state media published several short clips that were said to show Peng for the first time after her allegations of sexual assault in public appearances.
- However, there are still many doubts and criticisms about the host country for next year’s Winter Olympics.
The editor-in-chief of the state-run Global Times published a short video on Twitter that allegedly shows the 35-year-old at the opening of a youth tennis tournament at the Beijing Stadium on Sunday. In the clip, Peng wears a dark blue tracksuit and white sweatpants and stands among a group of praised guests.
A reporter for the state newspaper tweeted another video that purports to show Bing signing autographs for kids in the same stadium and then posing for photos.
An earlier recording appeared that was supposed to show the former top 20 players with his friends in a restaurant in Beijing. Agence France-Presse was unable to verify the authenticity of the videos.
London demands ‘evidence’
After France and the USA, the British government also asked China to provide “verifiable evidence” of the “safety and fate” of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai.
“We are extremely concerned about Peng Shuai’s disappearance and are following the matter closely,” the British Foreign Office said on Saturday in London. At the same time, she emphasized the right to freely express oneself.
The video from the restaurant was apparently “recorded on Saturday Beijing time,” Global Times editor Hu Shijin wrote.
Indeed, during the conversation, a man said, “Tomorrow is November 20” – but was promptly corrected by a woman that it would be November 21 – hence Sunday. The conversation, apparently filmed on a smartphone, is staged, and Bing makes a soothing impression on the recordings.
The WTA doubts and threatens
WTA president Steve Simon called the video from the restaurant on Saturday “insufficient.” The head of the Women’s Tennis Organization described it as “positive” to see Ping. However, it remains unclear whether the player is “free and able to make decisions and take actions independently and without coercion or outside interference”.
“Simply put, the WTA is at a crossroads in China,” Simon emphasized in a letter to the Chinese ambassador to the United States, demanding: “I hope I can count on you to pass these messages on to the Chinese leadership, this problem can be resolved.”
I hope I can count on you to pass on these messages to the Chinese leadership so that this problem can be resolved.
The WTA president had already threatened to withdraw all WTA tournaments from the Middle Kingdom due to the still unclear situation around Peng Shuai. After several high-profile companions, Roger Federer also expressed his displeasure with the “very disturbing news” about Bing at the weekend: “I hope it is safe. The tennis family is standing together. This is important.”
Senior politician accused
Bing Shuai wrote on Twitter-like Weibo earlier this month that he was sexually assaulted by 75-year-old former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli. The entry in the social milieu as well as several Internet entries about Peng were deleted, of which there was no trace afterwards.
Sports organizations and political representatives had expressed grave concern about the former world number one in doubles and asked China to explain the issue transparently. The calls for her must not be silenced, even after the videos that have appeared now.
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