Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai appears in public, but concern still on

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Beijing: Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai appeared in public over the weekend, after increasing calls about her whereabouts from across the world.

Several videos and pictures released by China’s state-controlled media showed Peng going about her life in Beijing; she even spoke to the chief of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach on Sunday.

“It was good to see Peng Shuai in recent videos, but they don’t alleviate or address the WTA’s concern about her well-being and ability to communicate without censorship or coercion,” a Women’s Tennis Association’s (WTA) spokeswoman said in an e-mail.

The IOC released a photo of Bach facing a screen on which Peng appears but did not release video of the call. The IOC’s short statement, which offered few details and no follow-up on her allegations, is leading to increasing criticism of the sports body.

Amnesty International’s China researcher Alkan Akad told Reuters the video call did little to alleviate fears over Peng’s well-being.

Peng disappeared from public view after publishing on November 2 a statement on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform, accusing the former Chinese vice-premier, 75-year-old Zhang Gaoli, of sexually assaulting her. The post was immediately deleted, Peng’s accounts were removed from the Chinese social networks and the athlete stopped communicating, raising concerns for her safety.

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