WTA chief casts doubt on Chinese participant Peng video

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WTA chairman ‘anxious about Peng’s security’

A video claiming to indicate Chinese participant Peng Shuai out with pals is “insufficient” proof of her security, says Women’s Tennis Association chief Steve Simon.

On Saturday, Chinese state-affiliated media posted two clips on Twitter of Peng purportedly having dinner along with her coach and pals in a restaurant.

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“While it is positive to see her, it remains unclear if she is free and able to make decisions and take actions on her own, without coercion or external interference,” mentioned Simon.

Peng, 35, has not been in direct contact with the WTA since making sexual assault allegations towards a former China vice-premier two weeks in the past.

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The governing physique of the ladies’s skilled tour has been advised Peng is secure, and in Beijing, by the Chinese Tennis Association, though Simon mentioned on Friday there was no affirmation if that’s true.

On Saturday, the editor of the Global Times – which is a Chinese state-affiliated media organisation – posted the clips of Peng which he mentioned have been filmed this weekend.

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“The video content clearly shows they are shot on Saturday, Beijing time,” mentioned Hu Xijin.

However, the authenticity of the movies was questioned by BBC China media analyst Kerry Allen.external-link

She mentioned it appeared a date had been blurred out of the video.

“I am glad to see the videos released by China state-run media that appear to show Peng Shuai at a restaurant in Beijing,” added Simon.

“This video alone is insufficient.

“As I’ve said from the start, I stay involved about Peng Shuai’s well being and security and that the allegation of sexual assault is being censored and swept below the rug.

“I have been clear about what needs to happen and our relationship with China is at a crossroads.”

Peng is a former world primary doubles participant who has received two Grand Slam titles – at Wimbledon in 2013 and the 2014 French Open, each alongside Chinese Taipei’s Hsieh Su-wei.

She additionally achieved a career-high singles rankings of 14 in 2011 and reached the US Open singles semi-finals in 2014.

Fears for Peng’s security have continued to develop since she mentioned on 3 November she was “forced” right into a sexual relationship with former China vice-premier Zhang Gaoli.

Peng made the allegations in a publish on Chinese social media web site Weibo and so they have been quickly deleted from China’s web.

It is the primary time such a declare has been made towards one in all China’s senior political leaders.

Swiss star Roger Federer has added his voice to considerations about Peng’s welfare, becoming a member of Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and lots of different high gamers in talking out in regards to the scenario.

“I hope she is safe, the tennis world is united for her,” mentioned 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer.

“I hope good news will come from her soon.”

People throughout tennis – together with different previous and current gamers, coaches and journalists – have been demanding solutions about Peng’s whereabouts, as produce other high-profile sports activities stars, actors and politicians.

Many have been utilizing #WhereIsPengShuai on Twitter posts, together with a photograph of her.

Wimbledon mentioned it had been “working in support of the WTA’s efforts” to determine her security and was “united with the rest of tennis in the need to understand that Peng Shuai is safe”.

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