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Tennis: WTA suspends tournament in China due to concerns about Peng Shuai’s well-being

The Women’s Tennis Association has decided to immediately suspend all tennis tournaments in China amid concerns about the well-being of Chinese stars and former doubles peng Shuai. The WTA also emphasized the safety concerns of other players, despite China’s growing criticism of China’s handling of sexual harassment allegations against former Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli.

WTA is far from one of the major markets, and US-based organizations can cost hundreds of millions of dollars in broadcast and sponsorship revenue.

Whereabouts of Peng Shuai A matter of international concern claiming sexual harassment from Zhang Gaoli, following a public absence for almost three weeks after she posted a message on social media in early November.

The WtA decision will be made when Beijing is preparing to host the Winter Olympics next February. Rights groups around the world are calling for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics over China’s human rights records.

Neither Zhang, who retired in 2018, nor the Chinese government commented on Peng’s allegations, and this topic is blocked from China’s rigorously censored direct discussions on the Internet.

In a statement, WTA CEO Steve Simon said, “When Peng Shuai was unable to communicate freely and was pressured to contradict allegations of sexual assault, he told athletes. I don’t know how to ask them to compete there. “

“Given the current situation, we are also very concerned about the risks faced by all players and staff when we hold an event in China in 2022.”

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said at the end of last month that “certain people” should stop “malicious hype” and “politicization” of the Peng issue.

“Serious suspicion”

Peng performed at a dinner with friends and a children’s tennis tournament in Beijing in mid-November, showing photos and videos released by the Chinese national media and tournament organizers.

On November 21, IOC President Thomas Bach made a 30-minute video call with Peng, who participated in three Olympic games, during which she said she was safe. However, Simon, who said the decision to suspend the tournament in China had the full support of the WTA Board, said he was not convinced that everything was going well with Peng.

“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 said.

“The WTA has clarified what is needed here and has repeatedly called for a complete and transparent investigation of Peng Shuai’s sexual assault charges without censorship.”

Simon said Peng’s situation demanded a response.

“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. I won’t let it happen and I can’t. “He added. (With Reuters input)

Tennis: WTA suspends tournament in China due to concerns about Peng Shuai’s well-being

Source link Tennis: WTA suspends tournament in China due to concerns about Peng Shuai’s well-being

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