China tennis star Peng Shuai who went ‘missing’ after alleging sexual assault reappears in public

Tennis star Peng Shuai, who went missing after accusing a former vice-premier of sexually abusing her, has reportedly returned home. Organizers have released pictures of the China Open claiming that Peng participated in a recent tournament in Beijing. The pictures of Peng waving hands near the court and signing tennis balls for the children went on air. The post was shared on the Chinese social media site Weibo, but there were no indications of why Peng was missing.

Peng Shuai- The Tennis player

The Chinese professional tennis player was ranked world no.1 doubles by the WTA, the first Chinese tennis player to do so (male or female, and in singles or doubles) in February 2014. She peaked at No. 14 of the singles rankings in August 2011. Peng has won two singles and 22 doubles titles. She won a gold medal at the 2010 Asian Games, defeating Akgul Amanmuradova in the final. At the 2013 Wimbledon Championships, Peng won her first ladies’ doubles Championship with Hsieh Su-Wei of Taiwan and again won at the 2014 French open with Hsieh. 

In November 2021, Peng accused former senior Chinese Vice-premier Zhang Gaolii of sexually assaulting her, followed by allegations of an abrupt disappearance and the censoring of the subject by the Chinese government. She had not been seen publicly since alleging Gaoli but on November 20, the Chinese state media have posted a video showing two-time Grand Slam doubles champion Peng Shuai smiling well.

The released video shows Peng standing in a stadium among a group of guests whose names are announced to a smattering of applause. Peng can be seen in a navy sports jacket and white track pants at the Fila Kids Junior Tennis Challenger Finals, according to photos published on the official Weibo account of the China Open, her first public appearance since her sexual abuse accusations were widely censored on the Chinese internet. 

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Soon after the complaints, Peng’s claims were quickly erased from a platform like Twitter, and the whereabouts of the former Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion has been a mystery ever since.

China’s silence on Peng’s disappearance has drawn widespread international criticism.  There have also been calls for a boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February.  Peng Shui who won the doubles title at Wimbledon and French Open has competed in the Olympics three times.