TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Chinese reporter Shen Shiwei (沈詩偉) posted on Twitter three images of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai (彭帥) on Friday (Nov. 19), saying the athlete had shared them in her WeChat Moments, a microblogging section on the popular Chinese communication app.
The photos show Peng smiling as she plays with a cat and poses with a Kung Fu Panda figurine. “Peng Shuai’s WeChat moments just posted three latest photos and said ‘Happy weekend.’ Her friend shared the three photos and the screenshot of Peng’s WeChat moments,” Shen wrote in the tweet.
However, Twitter users were not convinced at all by the post. “Let her appear in public and speak and even better if she's outside of China. OK? No more idiotic fake news and propaganda from shameless people like you. All the stupid propaganda don't work anymore. OK?” responded Patrick Poon (潘嘉偉).
“She needs to do a live video for anyone to believe that. Those photos could have been taken weeks ago, and her friend shared them? And why did her friend have to share them? Don’t defend something you know little about,” wrote Twitter user Tommy Walker.
A Twitter user by the name of "Reito" zoomed in on the screenshot Shen had provided along with the photos of Peng. In the zoomed-in image, the WeChat Moments stream Shen claimed to be Peng’s shows the username “Peng Shuai 2” and the biography “nameless little beauty.”
“The so-called ‘friend’ with a flag profile pic: sending a screenshot of the user named ‘Peng Shuai 2’ with a bio: nameless little beauty, you know, looks dodgy,” wrote Reito.
The so-called "friend" with a flag profile pic: sending a screenshot of the user named "彭帅2" (Peng Shuai 2) with a bio: 无名小美 (nameless little beauty), you know, looks dodgy af pic.twitter.com/7CbGrW9aLJ— reito 1218四個不同意 (@taromilkcake) November 19, 2021
According to CNA, anything related to Peng is still strictly censored online in China. Additionally, in the photo featuring Peng with a Kung Fu Panda figurine is a framed picture of her posing with Winnie the Pooh, which has been a taboo since the character started being used to reference Chinese leader Xi Jinping (習近平) several years ago.
CNA cited netizens as speculating whether Peng is conveying the hidden message that she is speaking under pressure from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Peng Shuai's whereabouts and safety drew global concern after she accused former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli (張高麗) of sexual assault and engaging in an extramarital affair with her.
On Thursday (Nov. 18), China Global Television Network published an English email allegedly written by Peng to Women's Tennis Association CEO Steve Simon in which Peng denied that she has gone missing or is unsafe. However, the email only drew more suspicion from the public.