Amid doubts over her whereabouts following sexual harassment allegations against a top Chinese official, tennis star Peng Shuai’s pictures emerged online showing her having a good time at home.
Peng Shuai went missing after alleging last month on Chinese social media site Weibo that she was sexually exploited by former vice-premier of China Zhang Gaoli, during a long-term on-off relationship.
The claims were quickly scrubbed from the Twitter-like platform and she has not been seen since.
In the latest pictures posted on her WeChat moments, the sports star can be seen having a good time with her pet animal, according to a Chinese journalist Shen Shiwei, who works for state media.
“Peng Shuai’s WeChat moments just posted three latest photos and said ‘Happy weekend’, Shen Shiwei said on Twitter.
Hu Xijin, the outspoken editor of the Communist Party-owned Global Times, reshared the tweet and said: “I confirmed through my own sources today that these photos are indeed Peng Shuai's current state. In the past few days, she stayed in her own home freely and she didn't want to be disturbed. She will show up in public and participate in some activities soon.
The United States and UN on Friday had demanded proof of Peng Shuai’s whereabouts and well-being amid rising concern for the tennis star.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden’s administration wanted China to "provide independent, verifiable proof" of Peng’s whereabouts and expressed "deep concern" about the former world top-ranked doubles player.
The United Nations insisted on a fully transparent investigation into the claims made by Peng against the Communist Party grandee.
Tennis stars, sports bodies, governments and human rights defenders had also spoken up for Peng, 35, and demanded information.
The head of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) had said he was prepared to cut lucrative business ties with China if Peng remains unaccounted for and her sexual assault allegations are not probed.
Novak Djokovic had said he backed the WTA’s threat.
"I hope that she’s found and that she’s healthy and that everything is fine, at least the worst is avoided. I support the statement of the WTA as an organisation and also their president absolutely," Djokovic, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, had said.
Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka had also voiced their concerns for one of China’s greatest ever players.
"It would be important to have proof of her whereabouts and well-being," Liz Throssell, a spokeswoman for the UN Human Rights Office, had told reporters in Geneva.
"According to available information, Peng, a former world doubles number one, hasn’t been heard from publicly since she alleged on social media that she had been sexually assaulted.
"We are calling for an investigation with full transparency into her allegation of sexual assault."
Russia has suffered 75,000 deaths in October, making it the deadliest month during the current Covid-19 pandemic
Doctors stress it was early to know if children were particularly susceptible of the new COVID-19 variant
US President Joe Biden has announced new testing requirements for travellers and a surge in vaccination efforts as...
Omicron, first discovered in southern Africa, represents a fresh challenge to global efforts to battle the pandemic
Top health official Anthony Fauci, commenting on the first Omicron case, said wearing facemasks is the best way to...
A four-day slate of world-class events and immersive Emirati experiences is set to mark the Golden Jubilee of the UAE