FILE - China's Peng Shuai plays her Australian Open first-round match against Japan's Nao Hibino on Jan. 21, 2020 (AP Photo / Andy Brownbill, File)

BEIJING (AP) – The editor of a Communist Party newspaper posted a video online of missing tennis player Peng Shuai allegedly watching a match on Sunday.

The broadcast of the video comes as the ruling party tries to assuage criticism and fears expressed abroad about Peng’s safety. In China, the government has suppressed information about the tennis player, who accused a prominent official of sexual assault.

The video published by Hu Xijin of the Global Times shows Peng standing with five other people in a match that, according to the journalist, corresponds to a youth tournament in Beijing.

The broadcast on Twitter, a social network closed to many Internet users in China, came after Hu had written on that social network that Peng would “appear in public” soon.

The ruling party would seek to downplay concerns expressed about Peng without acknowledging that she has disappeared, after the tennis player, a three-time Olympic Games participant, accused Shang Gaoli, a former member of the ruling party’s Standing Committee, of forcing her into relationships. sexual with him.

Peng’s disappearance and the government’s silence in response to requests for information have led to demands for a boycott of the Winter Olympics to be held in February in Beijing.

It is an event in which the Communist Party would seek prestige.

The professional women’s tennis tour threatened to withdraw tournaments from China unless the safety of Peng, who rose to the top of the world ranking in doubles, is ensured.

Discussions about Peng have been deleted on China’s websites. A government spokesman on Friday denied knowing about the widespread outrage over the case.

Internet filters imposed by the ruling party also prevent most people in China from viewing social networks or foreign media.

Peng joins a growing number of Chinese businessmen, activists and citizens who have disappeared in recent years after criticizing party figures. The whereabouts of some have been unknown since police operations were carried out, either to combat alleged acts of corruption or to quell pro-democracy or labor rights campaigns.

Some reappear weeks or months later, without an explanation. This suggests that they are advised not to reveal that they were detained or why.

Hu, whose newspaper is known for its nationalist tone and who often uses Twitter to criticize foreign governments, wrote on Saturday that Peng was “staying free in his own home” and “would appear in public soon, participating in some activities.”

FILE – China’s Peng Shuai plays her Australian Open first-round match against Japan’s Nao Hibino on Jan. 21, 2020 (AP Photo / Andy Brownbill, File)

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