Video, photos of missing Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai posted online

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Missing tennis star Peng Shuai reappeared in public Sunday at a youth tournament in Beijing, according to photos released by the organizer, as the ruling Communist Party tried to quell fears abroad while suppressing information in China about Peng after she accused a senior leader of sexual assault.

The post by the China Open on the Weibo social media service made no mention of Peng’s disappearance or her accusation. Peng was shown standing beside a court, waving and signing oversize commemorative tennis balls for children.

The appearance followed an announcement by the editor of a party newspaper Saturday on Twitter, which can’t be seen by most internet users in China, that the three-time Olympian would “show up in public” soon.

WATCH | UN, White House call on China for proof of Peng’s whereabouts:

UN, White House call on China to give proof of Peng Shuai’s whereabouts

Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai disappeared after accusing a former senior Chinese politician of sexually assaulting her. The tennis world and international diplomatic community are calling for an independent investigation into her whereabouts and well-being. 3:57

The ruling party appears to be trying to defuse alarm about Peng without acknowledging her disappearance after the former Wimbledon and Paris Open champion this month accused Zhang Gaoli, a member of the party’s ruling Standing Committee until 2018, of forcing her to have sex.

Peng’s disappearance and the government’s silence in response to appeals for information prompted calls for a boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February, a prestige event for the Communist Party. The women’s professional tour threatened to pull events out of China unless the safety of the former No. 1 doubles player was assured.

Discussion of Peng’s accusation has been deleted from websites in China. A government spokesperson on Friday denied knowing about the outcry. The ruling party’s internet filters also block most people in China from seeing other social media abroad and most global news outlets.

Comments on Chinese social media on Sunday criticized the Women’s Tennis Association and others who spoke up about Peng, while comments in Chinese on Twitter poked fun at the awkward release of photos and video.

“When will the WTA get out of China?” said a comment on the Sina Weibo social media service, signed “Sleep Time.”

WATCH | Peng Shuai missing since raising sexual assault allegations:

What we know about the missing Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai

CBC’s Rob Pizzo is joined by CBC News Senior Correspondent Saša Petricic to discuss the latest on missing Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai and what impact it could have on potential boycott discussions surrounding the Beijing Winter Games. 3:44

Peng adds to a growing number of Chinese businesspeople, activists and ordinary people who have disappeared in recent years after criticizing party figures or in crackdowns on corruption or pro-democracy and labour rights campaigns.



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