Missing tennis player Peng Shuai will make public appearance 'soon', says state media

20 November 2021, 08:54 | Updated: 20 November 2021, 11:30

Images were shared on Peng Shuai's social media on Friday, but experts have questioned their credibility
Images were shared on Peng Shuai's social media on Friday, but experts have questioned their credibility. Picture: Twitter @shen_shiwei

By Daisy Stephens

A Chinese tennis player who has not been seen since making a sexual assault allegation on November 2 is staying "freely" in her own home and will make a public appearance "soon", according to a state media journalist.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

In a series of tweets, Hu Xijin said Ms Shuai did not want to be "disturbed" but said he did not believe she had "received unfair treatment".

"In the past few days, she stayed in her own home freely and she didn't want to be disturbed," read one tweet.

"She will show up in public and participate in some activities soon."

In another tweet, he said: "I am confident that the untrue speculations surrounding her will eventually be smashed."

Read more: Where is Peng Shuai? Williams 'devastated' after player vanishes following sexual assault allegation

Mr Xijin also said he believed photos shared of Ms Shuai were her "current state", despite widespread questions over their authenticity.

The images were posted by journalist Shen Shiwei, who works for the international branch of the government-controlled state broadcaster.

He said they were posted on the 35-year-old's WeChat, and were captioned: "Happy weekend."

But their credibility has been questioned, with some pointing out one of the photos features a framed picture of Winnie the Pooh - a character who is banned in China.

It comes after an email to the chairman of the Women's Tennis Association, claiming to be from Ms Shuai, was published by the broadcaster, saying the sexual assault allegation "is not true" and that she is "resting at home and everything is fine".

Read more: Andrew Marr joins LBC in exclusive deal to get his 'own voice back'

Read more: Kyle Rittenhouse cleared of murder after shooting two men at a Black Lives Matter protest

The tennis champion accused a former government official of forcing her to have sex with him nearly three weeks ago, and has not been seen publicly since.

In a lengthy social media post - that was quickly deleted - Ms Shuai alleged Zhang Gaoli, a former vice premier and member of the Communist Party's all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee, forced her to have sex despite repeated refusals three years ago.

Tennis champions including Serena Williams and Andy Murray have both campaigned online for her to be found, using the hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai.

Read more: Beijing Olympics should be boycotted amid Peng Shuai saga, ex-ATP boss suggests

The former president of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) has questioned whether countries should boycott the Winter Olympics, currently scheduled to take place on Beijing in February 2022.

Speaking to LBC's Andrew Castle, Chris Kermode said the response by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had been "predictably poor".

When asked if it was "right" for the world to participate in the games when a professional athlete was missing in China, Mr Kermode said: "No, it isn't."

He stressed that the current issue "needs to be dealt with" and the Chinese government must be more transparent about the situation.

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Ukraine Russia Mariupol

Red Cross registers hundreds of Ukrainian POWs from Mariupol

George Bush made a blunder during a speech confusing Ukraine with Iraq

George Bush's gaffe after condemning Putin's 'unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq'

The Kremlin has been accused of deliberately destroying Ukraine's farming equipment

Putin 'weaponising' world food supplies as global hunger levels reach 'new high'

Shannon Waedell-Collins pays her respects at the scene of Saturday’s shooting at a supermarket, in Buffalo,

Buffalo shooter shared plans through website Discord

Olivia Lois Ortz has been arrested and charged

Teacher arrested for 'sexual relationship with student' after being shopped by her husband

Virus Outbreak Health Secretary

US health secretary tests positive for Covid on Germany trip

NYSE to set up Belfast outpost

Stocks fall sharply as Target’s woes renew inflation fears

NYU Graduation

Taylor Swift gets honorary degree from New York University

Kremlin chaos: Putin 'constantly surrounded by doctors' as illness throws regime in disarray

Putin 'constantly surrounded by doctors' as illness throws Kremlin into chaos

Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin, 21, during a court hearing in Kyiv

Russian soldier pleads guilty in first war crimes trial of Ukraine conflict

Amber Heard talks with her lawyer

Amber Heard’s friend says she saw bruises inflicted by Depp

Thomas Lane

Former police officer pleads guilty to manslaughter in George Floyd killing

Sacha Baron Cohen

Baron Cohen drops legal action over cannabis dispensary advert

Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton cancels shows after testing positive for Covid

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen

EU proposes 300 billion-euro roadmap to ditch Russian energy

Europe has been warned to take "great care" as further cases of monkeypox are diagnosed in Spain and Portugal

Europe on alert as cases of monkeypox found in Spain and Portugal