Story at a glance

  • The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) announced Wednesday it is suspending all tournaments in China over concerns for the safety of missing tennis star Peng Shuai.
  • “The WTA has been clear on what is needed here, and we repeat our call for a full and transparent investigation – without censorship – into Peng Shuai’s sexual assault accusation,” Simon continued.
  • Peng has not been seen publicly since accusing former Chinese vice premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assualt.

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) announced Wednesday it is suspending all tournaments in China over concerns for the safety of missing tennis star Peng Shuai, who has not been seen publicly since she accused former Chinese vice premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault.

“Unfortunately, the leadership in China has not addressed this very serious issue in any credible way,” WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon said in a statement“While we now know where Peng is, I have serious doubts that she is free, safe and not subject to censorship, coercion and intimidation'” 

“The WTA has been clear on what is needed here, and we repeat our call for a full and transparent investigation – without censorship – into Peng Shuai’s sexual assault accusation,” Simon continued. 

Simon added that in “good conscience” he could not ask other players to compete in matches when Peng “has not been allowed to communicate freely. 


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Peng wrote in a now-deleted social media post that Zhang, once a member of China’s Politburo Standing Committee, had coerced her into sex and that they also had a periodic consensual relationship. Yet the 35-year-old said in the post she could provide no evidence to support her allegations. Peng has not been seen publicly since.

The international tennis community and world governing bodies, including the European Union, have voiced their concern and called for a transparent investigation since Peng’s disappearance. 

“The EU joins growing international demands, including by sport professionals, for assurances that she is free and not under threat,” the EU said in a statement on Tuesday.

“In this spirit, the EU requests the Chinese government to provide verifiable proof of Peng Shuai’s safety, well-being and whereabouts. The EU urges the Chinese authorities to conduct a full, fair and transparent investigation into her allegations of sexual assault.”


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Published on Dec 01, 2021