Chinese state media have released videos of Peng Shuai, whose whereabouts have been a matter of international concern for weeks, showing the tennis star appearing at a junior tournament in Beijing.
Chinese state media have posted videos purporting to show tennis star Peng Shuai smiling and well, as international pressure mounted for information about her whereabouts.
In one of the videos, tweeted by Global Times newspaper editor Hu Xijin on Sunday, Peng appears to be standing in a stadium at what he described as the "opening ceremony of a teenager tennis match final".
She is in a group of guests whose names are announced to a smattering of applause. Few spectators are visible in the stands.
A Global Times reporter tweeted another video showing Peng signing autographs for children at a stadium before posing for photos with them.
The two-time Grand Slam doubles champion has not been seen publicly since alleging earlier this month that former vice premier Zhang Gaoli, now in his 70s, "forced" her into sex during an on-off relationship spanning several years.
Peng Shuai showed up at the opening ceremony of a teenager tennis match final in Beijing on Sunday morning. Global Times photo reporter Cui Meng captured her at scene. pic.twitter.com/7wlBcTMgGy— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) November 21, 2021
Hu tweeted in English that a second video shows "Peng Shuai was having dinner with her coach and friends in a restaurant. The video content clearly shows they are shot on Saturday Beijing time."
The conversation revolved around "tennis matches". A man sitting with Peng and two women said "tomorrow is November 20th".
But one of the women quickly corrects him, saying, "It is the 21st", implying that the video was filmed on Saturday.
The chat appears to be staged. It was filmed in the evening hours with a mobile phone. Peng appears relaxed in the footage.
Peng's claims against Zhang were the first time China's #MeToo movement has touched the highest echelons of the ruling Communist Party.
They were quickly scrubbed from the Twitter-like Weibo platform, and concerns have grown for her safety since.
Of the new videos, Women's Tennis Association boss Steve Simon said he was glad to see the images but "it remains unclear if she is free and able to make decisions and take actions on her own, without coercion or external interference."
"This video alone is insufficient," Simon said in a statement.
The WTA has threatened to end lucrative contracts with China unless it gets word of Peng's safety.