Women’s Tennis Tour Suspends Chinese Event Over Peng’s Concerns

The head of the Women’s Professional Tennis Tour announced on Wednesday that all WTA tournaments will be suspended due to concerns about the safety of Grand Slam Doubles Champion Peng Shuai, who has accused former senior officials of sexual assault in China.

Peng dropped out of public after filing a complaint about former Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli in a social media post on November 2, which was immediately withdrawn by Chinese authorities.

“Unfortunately, Chinese leadership has not addressed this very serious issue in a reliable way,” WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon wrote in a statement distributed on the tour. “We now know where Peng is, but we are seriously skeptical that she is free and safe and not subject to censorship, coercion or intimidation.”

Simon has repeatedly called for a “complete and transparent investigation-no censorship” of Peng’s accusations against China, which should host several tennis tournaments next year, including the prestigious end-of-season WTA Finals. I took an unusually strong position.

“Conscientiously, I don’t know how to ask athletes to compete there when Peng Shuai is unable to communicate freely and is under pressure to contradict allegations of sexual assault. “Simon said. “Given the current situation, we are also very concerned about the risks that players and all staff may face if we hold an event in China in 2022.”

Beijing is set to host the Winter Olympics from February 4, and International Olympic Committee chairman Thomas Bach said he spoke with Mr. Penn in a video call at the end of last month. The IOC did not release videos or records of the exchange, saying that Bach only reported that she was fine.

The IOC said in a statement that Peng seemed to be “doing well” and demanded privacy. The IOC worked closely with the Chinese Olympic Committee and government officials to host the next Olympic Games, but did not explain how to arrange a phone call.

Critics suggest that Peng would not have called the IOC if she could really speak freely.

“If powerful people can suppress women’s voices and wipe out allegations of sexual assault under the rug, the foundation on which the WTA was founded-female equality-will suffer immense setbacks,” Simon said. Said. “I won’t let the WTA and its players wake it up, and I can’t.”


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