Most of the online publicity dedicated to Wang Yafan, China’s best female tennis player, had been negative since the country’s tennis official cancelled an international tournament in April to honor the 20-year-old, The Associated Press reported.
The country’s sports administration cited security concerns related to her brother’s activities as the reason. Wang was last seen Sunday when he left a restaurant near Shenzhen, in China’s southern Guangdong province.
A video on Chinese social media sites was quickly posted, accompanied by the caption: “Wang Yafan cannot return. From the police.” Wang was wearing a fur coat in the first frame of the video.
Wang’s sister, Yuyan, confirmed her sister has never been involved in alcohol abuse or bad behavior, and that no one can confirm the authenticity of the videos.
In the past, Wang has posted images on social media sites of herself at work or on a shopping trip with her sister, often with what appears to be Yuyan. Authorities, who have identified Wang as Wang Yafan by her surname, asked the family to destroy their computers and smartphones. They also threatened to charge family members who publicize Wang’s whereabouts with violating the law.
Taiwanese software developer/entrepreneur Jiang Hao, who posted the video, told the AP that he and a friend visited Wang in Shanghai one day last week and he signed a contract with a bank to receive 15 percent of the proceeds from buying and selling tickets to a World Tennis Championship tournament scheduled for April in Hangzhou, in China’s eastern Zhejiang province. The tournament was cancelled at the last minute.
Wang’s sister went to Hangzhou. Since then, neither her nor Wang has been seen.
“She spent two nights in Hangzhou and wasn’t very worried and told me that she was okay, but we are not sure whether she has returned,” Jiang told the AP.
Jiang said that he, his friend, a salesman, and a technician went to Shenzhen on Tuesday. They searched for Wang on the internet, found her hotel and her car, and waited for her at the airport. They arrived back in Shenzhen on Wednesday and Jiang called his friend to check whether she was in Hangzhou. The friend said that, no, Wang wasn’t there.
Jiang explained that his friend was Wang’s customer representative for China National Chengdu National Stadium, and was planning to enter Wang into an international development competition hosted by her employer next week.
Jiang said he tried to get hold of Wang at her hotel room to ask whether she was fine and whether she was heading to Hangzhou, but couldn’t reach her. “She has a faint voice,” Jiang said.
Jiang said that his friend told him that she had been contacted by someone who claimed to be with the police, and warned her not to leave. Jiang didn’t say who contacted her.
Police in Shenzhen declined to comment. They’ve reached out to Jiang’s friend in the meantime, but haven’t confirmed their existence or if Wang actually exists. The pair are scheduled to go to the police station Thursday to put a brief statement before video-sharing websites that have covered the story, Jiang said.
Fox News’ Kris Tolentino and The Associated Press contributed to this report.