Peng Shuai US Open 2014

Latest state-media released videos of Peng Shuai fail to ease WTA concerns

The WTA remain unconvinced over Peng Shuai and her full autonomy after Chinese state-affiliated media released video footage of Peng appearing at some social events.

The concerns come after videos emerged on social media of Peng Shuai eating at a restaurant and appearing at a tennis event in Beijing, China.

Three videos were released via Chinese journalist Hu Xijin’s twitter feed. Hu Xijin is the editor-in-chief of the Chinese state media outlet the Global Times. As such, Hu Xijin has a ‘China state-affiliated media’ tag on his twitter profile, leading concerns to be slightly eased but not completely resolved.

For the past few weeks, there has been global concern over the former French Open and Wimbledon doubles champion after she appeared to have gone missing after alleging former Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli of forcing and coercing her into a sexual relationship.

Peng made her allegations through Chinese social media website Weibo, but her post was deleted within 20 minutes, along with related keywords and discussion posts.

This apparent disappearance led to an outpouring of global concern over Peng’s welfare, who had not been seen nor heard from publicly since November 2nd.

Chinese state media outlet CGTN released an email from Peng Shuai, however this only elevated concerns further.

In the latest statement released from WTA chief executive and chairman Steve Simon, he stated that “this video alone is insufficient.”

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

“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 stated.

“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 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 WTA’s threat to withdraw tournaments from China should they fail to resolve the WTA’s queries and refuse to allow a “full, fair and transparent” investigation still stands.

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.