The WTA has decided to suspend the tournaments held in China due to the censorship and uncertainties that have surrounded the case of the tennis player
, who denounced the sexual abuse of a former Chinese government leader and of which there is hardly any evidence, apart from communications from media related to the Government, since the complaint was made.
As explained by Steve Simon, President of the WTA, all the WTA tournaments that are held in China, including Hong Kong, are suspended.
“I don’t see how our athletes can compete there while Shuai Peng cannot communicate freely and has been pressured to contradict her allegations of sexual abuseSimon said.
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This means the suspension of nine tournaments, including the jewel in the WTA crown, the Masters Cup, which should have started to be played in Shenzhen (China) last year. The tournament was suspended in its 2020 edition due to the pandemic and this year moved to Guadalajara, Mexico, in a timely manner.
“The WTA is going to do everything possible to protect its players. I hope other world leaders can continue to fight for it to be done. justice for Peng and for all the women of the worldregardless of the financial consequences, ”added Simon.
What happened to Shuai Peng?
Peng’s case began on November 2, when in a message on his social networks he denounced the former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli for having abused her for three years. This message was deleted just half an hour after it was posted and Peng was missing for several days.
To calm the situation, a Chinese television station related to the Government issued a letter, on behalf of Peng, requesting privacy, denying the complaint and assuring that he was well. This only increased the concern towards the Chinese player, of which they were distributed
images and videos
, once again through the media and journalists close to the Government, in subsequent days.
“With the full support of the WTA Board of Directors, I am announcing the immediate suspension of all WTA tournaments in China, including Hong Kong.”
– wta (@WTA) December 1, 2021
Different organizations with the UN and Amnesty International They showed concern about the lack of contact with Peng and the need for her to show that she was really okay.
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The WTA, always through Simon, claimed not to have been able to contact Peng by mail or phone, and threatened China with suspending all tournaments currently in the country, despite the economic damage that this would entail. To be certain of Peng’s safety and freedom, Simon requested a video call with her in a room where she was assured that only the tennis player would be there. This did not happen.
It was then that Peng made a call with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), more specifically with its president, Thomas Bach, in which he reported that he was fine and that he is in Beijing, insisting once again that his privacy be respected. There were no images of the call other than a photograph.
The WTA, faced with the alarming lack of news from Peng, has decided to take this drastic decision, which also puts the ATP, which also has several tournaments in China, less than the WTA, yes, and that at all times has shown its support for the tennis player.
Peng is a former world number one in the doubles category and Roland Garros and Wimbledon champion.
“It is a disgrace to have had to get to this point. Both China and Hong Kong are full of very good people who we have worked with for many years. But if China does not carry out the measures we have asked of them, we cannot endanger our players and workers holding tournaments there. Chinese leaders have left the WTA with no option, ”Simon pointed out.