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Sport: Peng Shuai Purportedly in Video, Photos Released by State-Affiliated Chinese Media

Peng Shuai: Chinese state media release alleged email from tennis star amid worry over whereabouts

  Peng Shuai: Chinese state media release alleged email from tennis star amid worry over whereabouts The head of the Women's Tennis Association has cast doubt on an email claiming to be from Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, saying it only raises further concerns for her safety. © Provided by CNN Naomi Osaka and Peng Shuai China's state-owned television broadcaster CGTN released the email, purportedly from Peng, in the early hours of Wednesday morning local time, amid growing international concern for her whereabouts. The email -- which has not been verified by CNN -- claimed Peng is fine and appears to walk back her sexual allegations against a former top Communist Party leader.

This is not the first time that a state-affiliated Chinese media outlet has released information about the missing tennis star.

Jerry Lai/USA TODAY Sports © Provided by Sports Illustrated Jerry Lai/USA TODAY Sports

Editor’s note: This story contains alleged accounts of sexual assault. If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual assault, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or at https://www.rainn.org

Missing tennis star Peng Shuai is purportedly seen in photos and a video posted by an employee of Chinese state TV and an editor of a newspaper published by the Communist Party. The state TV employee, Shen Shiwei, wrote in a tweet on Friday that the photos are from Peng's account on WeChat, a messaging app; however, there was no indication of when the photos were taken.

Serena Williams joins calls to find missing Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai: ‘I am devastated’

  Serena Williams joins calls to find missing Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai: ‘I am devastated’ Serena Williams is joining the calls to locate missing Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai. Williams spoke out on Twitter on Thursday, more than two weeks after Peng accused a former top Chinese government official of sexual assault. Peng has not been seen or heard from publicly since. “I am devastated and shocked to hear the news of my peer, Peng Shuai,” Williams wrote. “I hope she is safe and found as soon as possible. This must be investigated and we must not stay silent. Sending love to her and her family during this incredibly difficult time.

Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) chair and chief executive Steve Simon said in a statement Saturday that "this video alone is insufficient."

"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," Simon said in a statement. "... As I have stated from the beginning, I remain concerned about Peng Shuai’s health and safety and that the allegation of sexual 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.”

The recently retired tennis star accused a former high-ranking member of the Chinese Communist Party of sexual assault.

This is reportedly the first public accusation of this nature against a prominent Chinese government official, and since Shuai’s Nov. 2 post on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform, the WTA veteran has reportedly not been heard from directly.

WTA CEO and U.N. take a stand over Peng Shuai’s disappearance

  WTA CEO and U.N. take a stand over Peng Shuai’s disappearance Virginia ended the first half with an impressive sequence, with Igor Milii Jr. getting the block on defense and then Armann Franklin picking up the ball and driving down the court for the layup plus a foul.

The photos and video were published as concern for Shuai's safety and whereabouts have continued to grow across the globe. International tennis stars, including Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams, voiced their worries on social media and politicians, including Rep. Jim Banks, called for President Joe Biden and members of his administration to "suspend any high-level dialogues with China until China respond satisfactorily to our inquiries about Peng Shuai’s safety."

Earlier on Friday, per the Associated Press, China’s Foreign Ministry told reporters Shuai's situation was “not a diplomatic question and I’m not aware of the situation.”

Hours later, the White House joined the call for the Chinese government to provide "independent, verifiable proof" of the tennis player's whereabouts and her safety, press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday.

"We join in the calls for PRC authorities to provide independent and verifiable proof of her whereabouts and that she is safe," Psaki told reporters. "We know the PRC has zero tolerance for criticism and a record of silencing those that speak out and we continue to condemn those practices."

The suspicious disappearance of tennis star Peng Shuai is straight out of China's playbook for forcing rogue celebrities into submission

  The suspicious disappearance of tennis star Peng Shuai is straight out of China's playbook for forcing rogue celebrities into submission On Nov. 2, Peng accused a former Chinese official of sexual assault. She's not been heard from since — like many celebrities who fall foul of Beijing.What the trio also have in common is that they vanished without notice after defying Beijing or embarrassing the nation.

President Biden said Thursday that the United States is considering a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Olympics over China's human rights abuses. Athletes would still be allowed to compete in February's Winter Games, but American dignitaries would not attend.

This is not the first time a Chinese state-affiliated media outlet has released information concerning Shuai. Another released an email on Wednesday purportedly from Shuai that was sent to Simon; however, he said it only raised his concern "as to her safety and whereabouts."

The email said, in part, "Regarding the recent news released on the official website of the WTA, the content has not been confirmed or verified by myself and it was released without my consent. The news in that release, including the allegation of sexual assault, is not true."

"For a person to come forth with the type of allegations and the detail into those allegations that she set forth in her Nov. 2 post, those are significant," Simon said Thursday during an interview with CNN. "For us to see an email that basically denied that happened and said it didn't and that all is great, I'm just struggling to agree to that and don't believe that's the truth at all."

Concern grows for tennis player who accused Chinese official of sexual assault

  Concern grows for tennis player who accused Chinese official of sexual assault The apparent disappearance of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai has attracted the attention of the United Nations, Serena Williams, members of the U.S. Congress, and other international, high-profile individuals. © Provided by Washington Examiner Peng, 35, seemingly had her social media censored by the Chinese government and had not been seen for weeks since she accused a former vice-premier of China of sexual assault. Celebrities and organizations that have typically been reluctant to speak out against human rights concerns in China have publicly expressed their concerns over the case.

Simon told The New York Times earlier this week that WTA received confirmation from the Chinese Tennis Association (CTA) and other sources that the tennis star is “safe and not under any physical threat." However, he added that no one at WTA had been able to speak directly with Shuai yet.

From 2012 to '17, Zhang Gaoli served on the party's Politburo Standing Committee, the "top ruling body" of the country, per The Times. Shuai detailed in her post that the former high-ranking member of the Chinese Communist Party allegedly "forced" her to have sex with him.

“Why did you have to come back to me, took me to your home to force me to have sex with you?” she wrote, per CNN.

The post, which also described an on-and-off consensual relationship with Gaoli, was removed within minutes, according to The Times, and searches of Shuai's name and "tennis" reportedly "appeared to be blocked" in China.

Simon reaffirmed earlier in the week that he is "willing to pull our business" out of China and lose millions of dollars if Shuai's allegations are not fully investigated and she is not spoken with directly. The WTA has 10 events scheduled in China for 2022, including the Finals. The country is scheduled to host that specific event through 2028.

The IOC says Peng Shuai is safe. Experts say the IOC has become a vehicle for Chinese propaganda .
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