Peng Shuai has appeared among the crowd, this time during the Winter Olympics that are taking place in Beijing. The Chinese tennis player attended the women's Big Air Freestyle Skiing sporting event where she saw her countrywoman Eileen Gu's triumph, winning the first Olympic gold medal in the category.
In November 2021, the 36-year-old accused former Chinese vice premier Zhang Gaoli of assault. Shortly after, the two-time double winner in the slam had disappeared immediately afterwards obviously arousing indignation from both the fans and her fellow tennis players who demanded explanations and reassurances so much that the WTA decided to cancel all tournaments in China.
Even this latest issue, as well as the previous interview with L 'Equipè or even before Peng that she had reassured everyone that she was okay after a video conference with the IOC president, still does not convince.
Fans present on social networks, including prominent human rights activists, are convinced that the Chinese Communist Party is influencing the tennis player and using her as a puppet during the games. Among these the Hong Kong activity Joey Siu who defined everything as an architectonic forcing: "If this isn't a forced appearance staged by the CCP, what is it? Has Peng Shuai always been a fan of winter sports?" wrote on Twitter.
"How often do you see a tennis player making such a high profile appearance at the Winter Olympics? Peng Shuai is clearly not free." The same winner Eileen Gu was asked what she thought about Peng Shuai's situation after her gold medal win.
The freestyle skier avoided the question by saying she was glad that Peng was here and doing her thing again. "Eileen Gu just avoided absolutely a question of what she thought about Peng's situation; she said she was happy to see Peng happy, healthy and doing her things to her.
Impossible question for her, and it strikes the heart of the contrast here," tweeted Bruce Arthur, a columnist for the Toronto Star. Yesterday Peng Shuai gave an interview to L'Equipe, where she denied what she had written a few months ago: "First of all I would like to thank the ATP and WTA players, all the athletes and personalities in large numbers who have worried about me," said the Chinese player, who then said she was surprised by the media coverage that the issue generated in the world and, above all, categorically denied the accusations made against Zhang Gaoli.
The story, however, continues to be unclear both because the president of the Chinese Olympic Committee was present during the interview and because the French newspaper had to send the questions by post that it then submitted to the Chinese tennis player.
Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai was on hand to watch China's Eileen Gu win #gold in the Big Air competition in #Beijing2022.
Peng could be seen in the stands wearing a black knit hat with the Olympic rings on them and a black coat with the Chinese flag https://t.co/93yjikXYZ8 pic.twitter.com/D2hVSfrV3e — Reuters (@Reuters) February 8, 2022
If this is not a CCP-staged forcible appearance, what is?
Has Peng Shuai always been a fan of winter sports? How often do you see a tennis player make such a high-profile grand appearance at a Winter Olympics games?
Peng Shuai is clearly not free.#FreePengShuai https://t.co/5XkhqHFnb1 — Joey Siu 邵嵐 #NoBeijing2022 (@jooeysiiu) February 8, 2022
Eileen Gu just absolutely sidestepped a question on what she thought of the Peng situation; she said she was glad to see Peng "happy and healthy and doing her thing."