The chairman of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) will suspend future e-mail communications with Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai.
Over the past three weeks, sports organizations have sought feedback from former top-ranked doubles players.
It was after Peng, in a post on November 2, accused the currently retired top Chinese executives of sexual assault. The 35-year-old then disappeared from public for about 20 days before reappearing in video calls with Chinese national media and last week’s Olympic officials.
A WTA spokesman said WTA Chairman Steve Simon was concerned that Peng was still subject to censorship and coercion from the Chinese government.
“The WTA remains concerned about her ability to communicate freely, openly and directly,” said Penn after a statement after the chairman contacted Penn through “various communication channels.” Includes two emails replied in.
According to the statement, “it was clear that her reaction was influenced by others.”
“he [Simon] Peng is deeply concerned that he has not been released from censorship and coercion, and has decided not to re-engage by email until he is convinced that it is her own answer, not the censor’s answer. ” Said.
The WTA is the first sports organization to openly oppose China, which provides significant income to others such as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the NBA. Simon has warned that WTA events will be withdrawn from China unless Peng’s safety is ensured, such as the Wuhan Open and the WTA Finals in Shenzhen. Both are scheduled to be held next year.
The chairman also questioned Penn’s previous 30-minute phone call with the IOC on November 21st. Meanwhile, three Olympic athletes said she was safe and at home in Beijing.
“It was nice to see Peng Shuai in a recent video, but he hasn’t alleviated or addressed WTA’s concerns about her well-being and communication skills without censorship or coercion,” a WTA spokeswoman said in an email.
The IOC has not released a transcript and has not mentioned Peng’s allegations of sexual abuse. Instead, it released a photo of the video call being made. There, the smiling Peng seemed to indicate that she was “doing well.”
Human Rights Watch has criticized the IOC for working with China’s public relations department in arranging a meeting with Peng. The IOC has so far failed to intervene in other human rights issues that cloud the Beijing Winter Olympics, arguing that the Commission must be neutral.
“The IOC is plunging into dangerous waters,” said Amnesty International’s Chinese researcher Alkan Akad on November 22, according to Reuters. “They need to be very careful not to participate in whitewashing that can be a violation of human rights.”
The United States, Australia, the European Union, the United Nations, and the United Kingdom have sought evidence of Peng’s security and well-being. Last weekend, a group of Chinese feminists held a rally in New York to support Peng.
“People should stop deliberately and maliciously hype,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said. [Peng’s issue] Up. “
The whereabouts of 75-year-old Zhang Gaoli, who allegedly forced Peng to have a sexual relationship, have not been reported.
The former Vice President of China resigned from the Politburo Standing Committee, which consists of powerful seven members, about three years ago and has not spoken publicly about the case.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.