Chinese State posts pics of missing star Peng Shuai wishing fans ‘happy weekend’

Chinese state media have posted three pictures of Peng Shuai, wishing her fans a ‘happy weekend’.

Peng, the former doubles world number one, has not been seen in public since she accused the former vice premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault.

On November 2, Peng revealed the accusation in a lengthy Weibo post that was deleted just half an hour later, claiming the official forced her into sex after inviting her to his house to play tennis with him and his wife three years ago.

Peng said she and Zhang had had an on-off consensual relationship in the past. The 35-year-old declared she had no evidence to support her allegations but chose to speak out.

The Chinese government are yet to comment on Peng’s allegation – and discussion of the topic has been blocked on China’s heavily censored internet.

Peng had not been since November 3 but Chinese state media released an email allegedly from the tennis star, insisting she is ’safe’ and that her sexual abuse allegations were not true.

Chinese state TV reporter Shen Shiwei has now tweeted pictures of Peng with cuddly toys, allegedly from her WeChat. The images were posted with an accompanying caption, reading: “Peng Shuai’s WeChat moments just posted three latest photos and said ‘Happy weekend’.

“Her friend shared the three photos and the screenshot of Peng’s WeChat moments.”

The images come after the tennis community and beyond became increasingly worried about Peng, with the WTA calling for an investigation into her disappearance and wellbeing.

Many of the world’s top players tweeted #WhereIsPengShuai to raise awareness, with Serena Williams taking to social media to voice her concerns, tweeting: “This must be investigated and we must not stay silent.”

Three-time grand slam winner and British tennis icon Andy Murray also added his voice to the #WhereIsPengShuai campaign on Twitter on Friday.

The Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) said in a statement that players must be prepared to take action if Peng’s safety could not be confirmed.

“The PTPA is advocating for independent evidence confirming the safety and location of WTA player, Peng Shuai,” the PTPA statement read.

“We must unite and be willing to take action unless corroborated evidence is provided to the world about Peng’s wellbeing.”

WTA chief executive Steve Simon confirmed the organisation would pull out of China if her safety was not confirmed, and raised doubts over her email.

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