U.S. Supports Women’s Tennis Association Boycotting China over Peng Shuai

The State Department is working with the Women’s Tennis Association to take over to Beijing the top Chinese tennis player, Peng Shuai, who disappeared for weeks after she publicly accused a senior Chinese official who retired from sexual assault. Said.

On December 1, the WTA moved to suspend all matches in mainland China and Hong Kong indefinitely because of concerns about Peng, becoming the first sports organization to challenge China’s communist government over human rights. rice field. As China is WTA’s largest market, outages can cost organizations hundreds of millions of dollars in broadcasting and sponsorship.

A spokesperson for the State Department told the Epoch Times, “I commend the WTA’s principle decisions.”

“U.S. companies operating in China help build a relationship between the United States and China. We believe it is important to maintain the ability to speak in support of human rights, including the right to freedom of expression. “The spokesman said.

Neither former Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli, who was accused by Peng, nor Chinese authorities have made public comments on her allegations of sexual assault.

Epoch Times Photo
China’s Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli will attend the 6th General Assembly of the National People’s Congress held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 16, 2013. (Feng Li / Getty Images)

Peng wasn’t seen for nearly three weeks after elaborating on her claim in a immediately deleted post on a confirmed social media account. Following global protests in the tennis world, Peng appeared in a series of video footage released by China’s national media and then in a video call with the International Olympic Committee. The IOC then described Peng as “safe and energetic.” “

CGTN, an English state broadcaster in China, also attributed a screenshot of the email to Peng, denying her claim and saying “everything is fine.”

“We are closely monitoring the situation surrounding Peng Shuai. A State Department spokesman has never seen or heard anything that eased her concerns about well-being,” he said.

A spokesman added that the United States pursues accountability for sexual assault and continues to support efforts to support freedom of expression. “Especially in light of the zero tolerance of the Chinese government’s criticism and the silence of the speaker.”

It is unclear whether other major sports leagues will follow the WTA initiative and abandon profit sharing in China.

Epoch Times Photo
Czech Republic’s Barbora Strycova (R) and Chinese Taipei’s Suway Sea will leave the court on the seventh day after winning the women’s doubles semi-finals against Anna-Lena Grönefeld of Germany and Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands. Respond to the crowd The 2019 Shiseido WTA Finals held at the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center in Shenzhen, China on November 2, 2019. (LintaoZhang / Getty Images)

so statement The Tennis Association, announced the day after the WTA’s announcement, said it continued to have serious concerns about Peng’s situation and called for an “open direct communication line between players and the WTA,” but at the event. Clarified not to cancel.

“We know that sports can have a positive impact on society, and we generally believe that having a global presence creates opportunities for us and gives us the best chances to influence them. “Masu,” said Andrea Gaudenzi, President of ATP.

The IOC, which described its efforts as a “quiet diplomacy” campaign, said it made a second call with Peng on December 2. The IOC said it “provided a wide range of support” to Peng and arranged for a private meeting in January.

“There are different ways to achieve her well-being and security.” statement They add, “I take a very human and human-centered approach to her situation.”

The statement does not directly refer to Peng’s allegations of sexual assault, but only describes it as “a difficult situation in which she is placed.” The IOC did not release video or transcripts of the call or provide details on how to configure it.



Eva Fu is a New York-based author of The Epoch Times, focusing on Sino-US relations, religious freedom, and human rights.