WTA announce immediate suspension of all tournaments in China with Peng Shuai unable to speak freely despite multiple contact attempts

A month ago Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai posted allegations against a former Chinese Government Vice Premier on social network Weibo, these were taken down, her account disappeared and so did all articles relating to Peng on the Chinese social media site.

Now the WTA have decided to suspend all tournaments in China.

Since November the 2nd she has not been seen or heard without it being promoted by Chinese Government Affiliate Media. Peng is not able to speak freely and has not been able to contact the WTA, neither has the WTA been able to contact her. An email surfaced posted by Chinese State Media which did not look to be from Peng but claiming to be so.

In recent days and weeks more media posted by Chinese State Media accounts on Twitter has surfaced showing Peng in public at events in China promoting tennis to the next generation however she is unable to speak freely.

In February next year Beijing is hosting the Winter Olympics and the IOC (International Olympic Committee) have chipped in but without saying much…

A picture of Thomas Bach talking to Peng on video call, no content from the video and the IOC think this is acceptable? Are they dancing to China’s tune, where is the backbone? The Beijing2022 account on Twitter blocks anyone who uses the #WhereIsPengShuai hashtag, so why is that?

The IOC have a lot to answer for.

Even with this the WTA have been unable to get hold of Peng Shuai and on the 1st of December have announced they have suspended all tournaments in China.

As a result, and 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. In good conscience, I don’t see how I can ask our athletes to compete there when Peng Shuai is not allowed to communicate freely and has seemingly been pressured to contradict her allegation of sexual assault. Given the current state of affairs, I am also greatly concerned about the risks that all of our players and staff could face if we were to hold events in China in 2022.

I have been gratified by the massive amount of international support the WTA has received for its position on this matter. To further protect Peng and many other women throughout the world, it is more urgent than ever for people to speak out. The WTA will do everything possible to protect its players. As we do so, I hope leaders around the world will continue to speak out so justice can be done for Peng, and all women, no matter the financial ramifications.

Steve Simon announces WTA decision to suspend tournaments in China

This move from the WTA has been greeted with a lot of support from around the sporting and tennis world with now pressure on the ATP and ITF to follow suit.

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