The wife of an athlete vanished from the Beijing air mass transit system on 7 August has alleged a suspect is waiting for her at home. But police said on Tuesday they have found no evidence to substantiate Li Hao’s suspicions of foul play.
Li said her husband, the Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, is missing after being last seen at the airport on Wednesday.
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After a fortnight of searching, authorities have found no trace of the player. But they did not rule out a romantic motive, which would not be foreign to China’s tennis scene.
The Olympic women’s doubles bronze medallist also has dark hair, which may be red dye used to bleach the colour of his hair or to try to hide his missing white hair. He has not used social media since he left.
Chinese media said Li had posted on Twitter accusing a suspect of being waiting for her at her home. The Beijing police public security bureau told a news conference: “Nobody has come forward to answer to any allegation [Li] made. The police haven’t found any evidence to corroborate or counter her remarks.”
Police announced an air quality notification system for the capital on Monday, with alerts warning about dangerous air pollution in smaller parts of the city.
On Monday, a pollution alert for the outlying suburbs was issued, with worse air temperatures expected on Tuesday. Authorities have already issued several alerts this year, in an attempt to curb the pollution. The country is heavily reliant on coal and vehicles and has struggled with growing reliance on coal, particularly in the south-western province of Gansu.
Li Hao’s wife is a renowned sports promoter who has hosted tournament events in Beijing for athletes in the Women’s Tennis Association. She created the 2016 China Open Ladies Pro Series. She has also developed the Harbin Elite Tennis League.
The internet has been awash with messages of support, jokes and conspiracy theories that show Chinese authorities are on track to be discussing what could have happened to the top tennis player.