WTA suspends all tournaments in China over Peng Shuai's disappearance

Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai disappeared after making allegations of sexual assault against former vice-premier of the country

By Web Desk
December 02, 2021
Photo: Twitter

Women's Tennis Association (WTA) has suspended all WTA tournaments in China, including Hong Kong amid concerns for Peng Shuai, who disappeared after making allegations of sexual assault against former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli.

Peng Shuai posted a message on the Chinese social media app Weibo about the abuse she had faced at the hands of former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli.

WTA chairman and CEO Steve Simon said in a statement that the security and safety of its players is an utmost concern and in Peng Shuai's case, Chinese authorities have failed to do so.

"Peng's message has been removed from the internet and discussion of this serious issue 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

"Unfortunately, the leadership in China has not addressed this very serious issue in any credible way," said Steve Simon.

"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," he added.

Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and several others have raised their voice for the Chinese tennis star.