Peng Shuai: WTA chief says new video of Chinese tennis star ‘insufficient’ to assure her safety

Simon on Saturday expressed reduction at seeing Peng, however he stated, “it remains unclear if she is free and able to make decisions and take actions on her own, without coercion or external interference.” CNN has been unable to independently confirm the movies or verify once they have been filmed. “This video alone is insufficient. As I have stated from the beginning, I remain concerned about Peng Shuai’s health and safety and that the allegation of $exual assault is being censored and swept under the rug. I have been clear about what needs to happen and our relationship with China is at a crossroads,” Simon’s assertion stated.

What the clips present

Several folks related to Chinese state media and sport system have tweeted images and movies they are saying present Peng out to dinner on Saturday. The clips seem to intentionally emphasize particular dates. One of the video clips, solely 45 seconds lengthy, seems to present Peng sitting with China Open match co-director Zhang Junhui together with two ladies round a desk in a restaurant in Beijing. Throughout the video, Zhang is talking to Peng, however she would not say something.

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At some level, in accordance to CNN translation, Zhang stated, “Yes, this year is different from last year, because of the pandemic. Originally, we planned to have 10 tours in three months, isn’t tomorrow November 20? We have long planned… ” But one of the 2 ladies rapidly corrected him, saying, “21st.” “Oh, November 21, tomorrow is November 21, we will have the final game at Zuanshi,” Zhang continued. “We had larger-scale games before, but because of the pandemic, two tours have been affected. So it’s estimated there will be fewer players, but the kids are still very enthusiastic,” Zhang added. “So the players in tomorrow’s game are the champions during the past nine tours in the past three months. You can see it’s Sunday, at the end of November, so it’s like a year-end final,” Zhang stated within the video. Another man, underneath the title Ding Li, additionally tweeted the identical video and several other new images of Peng with him and others. He wrote, “Peng Shuai is with me. We’re at this restaurant in Beijing that’s gone viral online, just finished dinner.” In his tweet, Ding claims the dinner is at Beijing Yibin Guesthouse. The title of the restaurant matches what’s proven on this video posted by Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of state-run tabloid Global Times.

Peng Shuai is seen in a still from a video released by a member of Chinese state media, purportedly showing her at a tennis event Sunday. CNN could not independently verify the clip or confirm when it was filmed.

On Sunday, members of Chinese state media launched more movies on social media purporting to present Peng at a tennis occasion for youngsters in Beijing. Throughout the movies Peng says little or no however is seen smiling. CNN can not independently confirm the 2 video clips or verify once they have been filmed.

Growing stress

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Beijing is dealing with rising worldwide stress over Peng’s whereabouts, together with from the United Nations, the United States authorities, and the world’s largest tennis stars. The UN Human Rights Office has known as for an investigation into her allegations of $exual assault.

In a letter Friday, Simon known as on China’s ambassador to the US to show Peng is protected and examine her accusations of $exual assault. A spokesperson from the United Kingdom’s Foreign Office stated China ought to “urgently provide verifiable evidence of her safety and whereabouts,” in accordance to Britain’s Press Association. That assertion got here after new video emerged Saturday purporting to present Peng, however earlier than Sunday’s clips.

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Amid the worldwide outcry, Chinese state media’s Twitter accounts, with Hu’s being among the many most energetic, have been more and more posting anonymously sourced details about the tennis star, ostensibly geared toward quelling the controversy with out acknowledging her declare in opposition to Zhang. Chinese state media organizations such because the Global Times are strictly managed by China’s propaganda authorities. Their tweets about Peng will not be reported inside China, which has lengthy banned Twitter and different worldwide social media platforms. Peng’s submit concerning the alleged $exual assault posted on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform, was deleted inside half-hour of publication, with Chinese censors transferring swiftly to wipe out any point out of the accusation online. Her Weibo account, which has greater than half one million followers, remains to be blocked from searchers on the platform. Simon, the WTA chief, stated on Friday he’s keen to lose lots of of thousands and thousands of {dollars} price of enterprise in China if Peng shouldn’t be totally accounted for and her allegations will not be correctly investigated.

Questions over veracity

Earlier within the week, Chinese state media launched an e mail, purportedly despatched to Simon from Peng, strolling again her allegations and claiming she is ok. The alleged e mail was launched solely on English-language platforms and home Chinese media haven’t reported on its contents, regardless of Peng being a family title in China. When requested concerning the e mail, Simon questioned its veracity, describing it as a “staged statement of some type,” noting he had but to obtain a follow-up reply, regardless of responding instantly. “Whether she was coerced into writing it, someone wrote it for her, we don’t know,” stated Simon. “But at this point I don’t think there’s any validity in it and we won’t be comfortable until we have a chance to speak with her,” he added. Later on Friday, CGTN journalist Shen Shiwei tweeted three images he claimed Peng had posted on WeChat together with the message “happy weekend.” Shen stated the images have been shared by one of Peng’s associates. CNN couldn’t independently confirm when the images have been taken, whether or not Peng posted the images herself, or whether or not they have been posted in any respect. In a Twitter submit on Saturday, Hu, of the Global Times republished the images of Peng. “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,” Hu tweeted. “She will show up in public and participate in some activities soon.” Speaking at a press convention Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian stated Peng’s accusation shouldn’t be a diplomatic problem and declined to remark additional.

CNN’s Kevin Dotson contributed to this report.

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