Nearly two weeks after people across the world began asking “Where is Peng Shuai?,” two questionable videos surfaced Saturday on social media of a person who appears to be the Chinese tennis star at a restaurant.
The videos were shared on Twitter by the editor of a state-run newspaper, but the seemingly unnatural conversation in one video and the unclear location and dates of both raised questions about Peng’s safety and whether she was appearing in the videos of her own free will.
Peng, in a social media post this month, accused a former top government official of sexually assaulting her. After the allegation, the Chinese government removed almost all references of Peng on social media within the country, and Peng disappeared from public life. Her absence prompted outrage across the world, especially from top officials and stars in tennis.
Steve Simon, the chief executive of the WTA, the women’s professional tennis tour, has particularly been strident, demanding verifiable proof that Peng is safe and can move about society as she pleases and that officials fully investigate her allegations. If that does not occur, Simon said the WTA would stop playing tennis tournaments in China.
On Saturday, after the videos surfaced, Simon continued to express frustration with the inability to independently verify Peng’s well-being and said that the organization’s “relationship with China is at a crossroads.”
“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,” he said. “This video alone is insufficient.”
Peng, 35, is the