The issue about Peng Shuai, the 35-year-old Chinese former tennis player who has now disappeared for more than three weeks following her accusations of assault suffered by former Chinese vice president Zhang Gaoli, continues to hold its own.
After the images popped up a few days ago, which portrayed the former double number one smiling, surrounded by soft toys and with her cat, videos were subsequently released by the Chinese media in which Peng attended a demonstration at a tennis club or, in on another occasion, she was at a restaurant with friends.
The suspicions, however, that the videos were not current, or in any case spontaneous, remained alive in those who have been following the story with interest for days now. The last appearance of Peng Shuai, who reassured everyone about her state of health, took place in a video call with the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach, in which the former tennis player revealed that feel good in your own home in Beijing.
WTA spokesperson: "The video call is not enough"
The video call between Peng Shuai, Thomas Bach (president of the IOC), Emma Terho (president of the IOC Athletes Commission) and the member of the IOC in China Li Lingwei lasted 30 minutes.
During this virtual meeting, Shuai wanted to thank everyone for her interest, but she said she was quiet in her home and just wanted her privacy to be respected. The former Chinese tennis player then added that she is living this period with friends and relatives and that she will soon return to devote herself to tennis, a sport she loves so much.
The call ended with Bach's invitation to Peng Shuai to a dinner next January, when he will be in Beijing, and Peng kindly accepted, extending the invitation to the others present. Anyway, a spokesperson for the WTA, however, told Reuters that the video call is not enough to reassure the athlete's condition.
"It was good to see Peng Shuai in the recent videos, but they do not alleviate or address the WTA's concerns about her well-being and her ability to communicate without censorship or coercion. This video does not change our request for a full, fair and transparent, uncensored investigation into her assault allegations, which is the issue that raised our initial concerns."