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Bing Shuai: Several photos of the Chinese tennis player appear on the Internet, his whereabouts unknown | Zhang Gaoli | Globalism

Four pictures, many questions: one Smiling appeared on social media at a time when international pressure was mounting To provide information on the whereabouts of the Chinese tennis player.

Bing ShuaiThe 35-year-old, the world number one in doubles and a star in her own country, has not been out in public since Zhang Gaoli, the 40-year-old powerful former head of the Chinese Communist Party, was accused of forcing her into sexual relations. .

Look: Where is Peng Shuai? Chinese tennis player’s ‘disappearance’ after sexual assault complaint raises fears

The message, which was posted briefly in early November on the player’s official account on Weibo (China’s equivalent of Twitter), before it was censored online in the Asian country, describes a forced relationship with Zhang, a married man.

In that writing attributed to Bing Shuai But the tennis player, whose authenticity could not be verified by AFP, noted that Zhang Gaoli had resumed contact with her when he retired from politics in 2018, sparking a forced sexual confrontation.

From those statements, out of luck Bing Shuai It raises many questions.

“For the last days I’ve stayed at home in complete freedom, not wanting to be disturbed,” Hu Xijin, the influential editor-in-chief of the Global Times, a Chinese newspaper with a strong nationalist streak, said Saturday.

Look: What do you know about the case of Chinese tennis player Bing Shuai and her mysterious disappearance?

Bing Shuai “will appear in public very soon”, wrote in English on Twitter, a social network blocked in China.

However, Hu, who prides himself on being close to power, did not mention the issue on Weibo.

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Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli delivers a speech during the Philippines-China Trade and Investment Forum at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, October 20, 2016 (WU HONG / AFP).

“I am convinced that the false speculation (regarding Bing Shuai’s fate) will eventually be refuted.”wrote on Friday.

On Friday, several countries, including the United States and France, expressed “concern” about the tennis player’s fate.

Look: From the United Nations to the United States, pressure increases on China over the disappearance of the tennis player

The United Nations asked for proof that she was safe and sound, while the hashtag #WhereisPengShuai (#Where isPengShuai) spread like wildfire on social media.

“Good weekend”

Meanwhile, she posted four photos of the tennis player on Friday afternoon on the Twitter account @shen_shiwei, which the social network identified as “Chinese state media”.

Agence France-Presse could not independently determine when the photos were taken.

In one photo, a smiling young woman is shown with a cat in her arms, in what appears to be her home, while another photo is shown of Peng Shuai with a statue of Kung Fu Panda.

The English-language Twitter account indicates that these photos were uploaded privately by the tennis player to one of the social networks, wishing her contacts a “good weekend”.

Photos are attached with “Today” in Mandarin Chinese to indicate the date of publication.

Twitter is a blocked network in China and can only be accessed by people with a VPN connection.

However, many Chinese diplomats and state media have created accounts to defend the Chinese viewpoint in recent years.

“staging”

After two weeks of claims Bing ShuaiOn Wednesday, Chinese public television CGTN showed a screenshot of an email she was going to write.

The series, in English and aimed at a foreign audience, said the Chinese player had personally sent him to lead the WTA, the body that runs the women’s professional tennis circuit.

On CNN, its boss Steve Simon questioned the authenticity of an email in which Shuai called his accusations against Zhang Gaoli “false.”

“I don’t think this is the truth at all”, Simon said, describing the email in question as “progressive.”

If she was forced to write it, if someone wrote it for her, we don’t know. […] But until we talk to her, we won’t calm down.” WTA leader added.

the case Bing Shuai censored in China The tennis player’s environment did not want to comment.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli, who from 2013 to 2018 was one of the seven most powerful political leaders in the region ChinaHe did not respond publicly to the accusations.

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