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Peng Shuai appears in Beijing, WTA not reassured

BEIJING, Nov 21 (Reuters) – Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, whose whereabouts have been a matter of worldwide concern for weeks, attended a tennis event in Beijing on Sunday, in response to official images revealed by the event organised by China Open.

Peng might be seen amongst company on the Fila Kids Junior Tennis Challenger Finals, dressed in a darkish blue jacket and white trousers, in response to the images revealed on the occasion’s official WeChat web page.

The former doubles world primary had not been seen or heard from publicly since she stated on Chinese social media on Nov. 2 that former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli had coerced her into intercourse they usually later had an on-off consensual relationship.

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Neither Zhang nor the Chinese authorities have commented on her allegation. Peng’s social media submit was rapidly deleted and the subject has been blocked from dialogue on China’s closely censored web.

World tennis our bodies have expressed concern, with the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) threatening to drag tournaments out of China. The United States and Britain have known as for proof of Peng’s whereabouts and security.

The images and video footage of Peng that emerged on Sunday stay “insufficient” and do not tackle the WTA’s issues, a spokesperson for the group instructed Reuters by electronic mail.

The U.S. and British embassies in Beijing did not instantly reply to Reuters requests for touch upon Peng’s Sunday look in the Chinese capital.

Peng additionally visited a preferred restaurant in downtown Beijing on Saturday evening. Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the state-backed Global Times posted a video of the outing, which a restaurant supervisor confirmed to Reuters on Sunday.

Seven folks together with Peng have been on the Sichuanese restaurant, stated the supervisor, Zhou Hongwei, including that they ate in a non-public room and have been joined by the restaurant’s proprietor.

“It was crowded at the restaurant as usual,” Zhou stated, exhibiting a invoice that included noodles and bamboo shoots. “They didn’t have much. I think they mostly chatted.”

PENG’S SAFETY

The challenge of Peng’s security and whereabouts has emerged as China prepares to host the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February amid calls from world rights teams and others for a boycott over its human rights file.

Searches for Peng’s identify on standard Chinese microblog Weibo continued to yield no outcomes on Sunday, and discussions about her preliminary accusations have been blocked on social media.

Chinese state media outlet CGTN on Wednesday launched what it stated was an electronic mail Peng had despatched to WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon, in which she stated the allegation of assault was unfaithful. Twitter is blocked in China.

Hu of the Global Times additionally tweeted Peng’s Sunday look on the tennis event. The Global Times is revealed by the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party.

Videos posted by Hu and a Global Times reporter confirmed her smiling, waving and signing autographs for kids.

The 37-second video Hu posted confirmed Peng standing in a row of individuals being launched to the viewers. An announcer says, “Two-time Grand Slam champion, former world number one in woman’s doubles – Peng Shuai!” She waves, smiling, and acknowledges applause.

Global Times chief reporter Chen Qingqing posted a 31-second video, apparently from the identical occasion. Peng appears to signal outsized tennis balls for kids and pose with them for photos.

Reuters was not in a position to independently confirm the authenticity of the pictures, which have been each credited to Global Times staffer Cui Meng.

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Reporting by Brenda Goh, Sophie Yu, Yew Lun Tian, Gabriel Crossley and Ryan Woo; Editing by William Mallard

A Tweet from Chinese journalist Shen Shiwei's Twitter account allegedly showing recent photos of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, which have not been independently verified by Reuters, are seen in this screen grab obtained via social media on November 20, 2021. Shen Shiwei/Twitter/via REUTERS

China’s Peng Shuai serving during a match at the Australian Open on January 15, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

Peng Shuai is seen having dinner with her coach and friends at a restaurant in this still image from a social media video, posted by Global Times Editor In Chief, Hu Xijin on November 20, 2021.   Hu Xijin/Twitter via REUTERS

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