WTA suspends Chinese tennis tournament due to Peng Shuai

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The US-based Women’s Tennis Association will suspend tournaments in mainland China and Hong Kong, raising tensions with Beijing over handling allegations of sexual assault against former Chinese officials of tennis star Peng Shuai.

Steve Simon, chairman and chief executive officer of the Women’s Professional Tennis Tour, said Wednesday that Penn had no satisfactory guarantee that he was “free, safe and not subject to censorship.”

Peng publicly accused Zhang Gaoli, a former Chinese Communist Party high-ranking member, of sexual assault in a post on social media platform Weibo on November 2, but it was quickly removed.

From Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams to Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, the biggest stars in the tennis world are Expressed concerns about Peng’s safety, Djokovic is backing the WTA’s threat to cancel the match in China.

Simon repeated the call for a “complete and transparent investigation” of Peng’s allegations. “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,” he said. Said.

In response, the Chinese nationalist tabloid Global Times claimed that the WTA “seriously forced Peng.”

“Such coercion deprived her of freedom of expression, forced her to complain according to the imagination and expectations of Western public opinion, and forged her loss of freedom. .. The message the WTA sent to her , That means she must support the latter accusations against China as long as she wants to satisfy the West, “the state-run organization wrote on Twitter.

According to a spokeswoman, the WTA hosts more than 50 tournaments worldwide each year, about 10 of which are held in China. In 2018, the tour signed a 10-year contract to host the Marquee WTA Finals in Shenzhen. The 2022 calendar is not yet complete.

This announcement will be made just over two months before the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics begin. At the end of last month, Thomas Bach, chairman of the International Olympic Committee, said Hosted a video call with Peng.. He said she was in Beijing and the two were planning to have dinner in the Chinese capital before the start of the tournament.

It was the first evidence from authorities outside China where Peng was located after the star disappeared from public view a few weeks after making her claim.

The Global Times added that international sporting events, including tennis, to be held in China have been canceled since the outbreak of the pandemic.

China’s national media had previously released Some videos Peng’s voice and a statement allegedly written by a tennis star said she was “resting at home” and that the assault allegations were “not true.”

Simon did not mention the Olympics or Bach’s name in a statement Wednesday, but hinted at the risk of hosting an athletic event in the region next year.

“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,” said Simon.

The IOC spokesperson did not immediately respond to the request for comment.

WTA decision to withdraw tournament from China Standing in contrast How other Western organizations reacted after causing controversy in the country.Large multinationals from Mercedes-Benz to McDonald’s apology After angering or alienating Chinese consumers.

National Basketball Association Faced with broadcast power outages and boycotts Later, Houston Rockets manager Daryl Morey posted on Twitter in 2019 to help protesters in Hong Kong. At the time, the league called Molly’s comment “sorry,” but said he had the right to free expression.

Additional report by Emma Zhou in Beijing

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WTA suspends Chinese tennis tournament due to Peng Shuai

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The post WTA suspends Chinese tennis tournament due to Peng Shuai appeared first on Eminetra.

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