The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has confirmed that all tennis tournaments in China will be suspended pending when the air is cleared as it concerns the whereabouts of Chinese player Peng Shuai.
The news was confirmed on the Sky Sports website on Tuesday, December 1st, 2021. According to the report, WTA chairman and CEO Steve Simon said the body is in support of the Chinese player.
When on November 2, 2021, Peng Shuai posted an allegation of sexual assault against a top Chinese government official, the Women’s Tennis Association recognized that Peng Shuai’s message had to be listed to and taken seriously. The players of the WTA, not to mention women around the world, deserve nothing less.
From that moment forward, Peng Shuai demonstrated the importance of speaking out, particularly when it comes to sexual assault, and especially when powerful people are involved. As Peng are involved. As Peng said in her post, Even if it is like an egg hitting a rock, or if I am like moth drawn to the flame, inviting self-destruction, I will tell the truth about you. She knew the dangers she would face, yet went public anyway. I admire her strength and courage.
Since then, Peng message has been removed from the internet and discussion of this serious has been censored in China. Chinese officials have been provided the opportunity to cease this censorship, verifiably prove that Peng is free and able to speak without interference or intimidation, and investigate the allegation of sexual assault in a full, fair and transparent manner. Unfortunately, the leadership in China has not addressed this very serious issue in any credible way. While we know where Peng is, I have serious doubt that she is free, safe and not subject to censorship, coercion and intimidation. 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. 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 qualified 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 around the world will continue to speak so justice can do done for Pend, and all women, no matter the financial ramifications.
I very much regret it has come to this point. The tennis communities in China and Hong Kong are full of great people with whom we have worked for many years. They should be proud of their achievements, hospitality and success. However, unless China takes the steps we have asked for, we cannot put our players and staff at risk by holding events in China. China’s leader have left the WTA with no choice. I remain hopeful that our pleas will be heard and the Chinese authorities will take a step to legitimately address this issue.
Tennis players have lent their voice towards the situation as it concern Peng and the Chinese government, notably of the players is Serena Williams who called out the Chinese government for wanting to silence Peng.