WTA declares speedy suspension of tournaments in China amid concern for Peng Shuai

2021-12-02 02:30:46

In a press release launched Wednesday, Simon mentioned the choice was primarily based on the lack of transparency by Chinese language officers following tennis participant Peng Shuai’s allegation of sexual assault towards a prime Chinese language authorities official.

“In good conscience, I do not see how I can ask our athletes to compete there when Peng Shuai just isn’t allowed to speak freely and has seemingly been pressured to contradict her allegation of sexual assault,” Simon mentioned.

“Given the present state of affairs, I’m additionally tremendously involved concerning the dangers that each one of our gamers and employees may face if we had been to carry occasions in China in 2022.”

Considered one of China’s most recognizable sports activities stars, Peng publicly accused former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of coercing her into intercourse at his residence, in keeping with screenshots of a since-deleted social media submit dated November 2.

Following the accusation, Peng disappeared from public view, prompting a number of fellow tennis gamers to precise fear on social media, utilizing the hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai.

On November 21, the Worldwide Olympic Committee mentioned in a press release that its president, Thomas Bach, had a 30-minute video name with three-time Olympian Peng, joined by a Chinese language sports activities official and an IOC official.

The assertion mentioned that, in the course of the name, Peng seemed to be “doing effective” and was “relaxed,” saying she “wish to have her privateness revered.” The IOC didn’t clarify how the video name with Peng was organized and has not made the video publicly out there.

Longtime IOC member Dick Pound mentioned the “unanimous conclusion” by these on a name with Peng is that she is okay.

However the European Union on Tuesday mentioned it needs China to launch “verifiable proof” that Peng is secure and to conduct a radical and clear investigation into her sexual assault allegations.

Simon mentioned the WTA acknowledged when Peng launched her assertion in November that her “message needed to be listened to and brought critically. The gamers of the WTA, to not point out ladies world wide, deserve nothing much less.”

“From that second ahead, Peng Shuai demonstrated the significance of talking out, significantly on the subject of sexual assault, and particularly when highly effective persons are concerned,” Simon mentioned. “As Peng mentioned in her submit, ‘even whether it is like an egg hitting a rock, or if I’m like a moth drawn to the flame, inviting self-destruction, I’ll inform the reality about you.’ She knew the hazards she would face, but she went public anyway. I like her energy and braveness.”

Within the assertion, Simon goes on to elucidate he has “severe doubts that she is free, secure, and never topic to censorship, coercion, and intimidation.”

“The WTA has been clear on what is required right here, and we repeat our name for a full and clear investigation — with out censorship — into Peng Shuai’s sexual assault accusation,” he mentioned.

Steve Simon speaks at a news conference at Singapore Sports Hub in 2018.

“None of that is acceptable nor can it turn out to be acceptable. If highly effective individuals can suppress the voices of girls and sweep allegations of sexual assault beneath the rug, then the premise on which the WTA was based — equality for ladies — would endure an immense setback. I cannot and can’t let that occur to the WTA and its gamers.”

Chinese language authorities haven’t acknowledged Peng’s allegations towards Zhang — who has pale from public life since his retirement in 2018 — and there’s no indication an investigation is underway. It stays unclear if Peng has reported her allegations to the police.

Late final month, China’s Ministry of International Affairs mentioned that the federal government hoped “malicious hypothesis” concerning Peng’s well-being and whereabouts would cease, including that her case shouldn’t be politicized.

On Wednesday, Worldwide Tennis Corridor of Famer Billie Jean King applauded the WTA resolution “for taking a powerful stand on defending human rights in China and world wide.”

“The WTA has chosen to be on the precise aspect of historical past in defending the rights of our gamers,” Jean mentioned in a press release, including: “That is but one more reason why ladies’s tennis is the chief in ladies’s sports activities.”

There have been no WTA occasions in China for the previous two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The WTA has but to launch the 2022 occasion calendar, however on common the skilled tennis tour has held about 10 tournaments annually in China, together with the season-ending WTA Finals.

“I’ve been gratified by the huge quantity of worldwide assist the WTA has obtained for its place on this matter,” Simon mentioned. “To additional defend Peng and plenty of different ladies all through the world, it’s extra pressing than ever for individuals to talk out. The WTA will do the whole lot doable to guard its gamers. As we achieve this, I hope leaders world wide will proceed to talk out so justice may be executed for Peng, and all ladies, regardless of the monetary ramifications.

“I very a lot remorse it has come so far. The tennis communities in China and Hong Kong are filled with nice individuals with whom we now have labored for a few years. They need to be pleased with their achievements, hospitality, and success. Nonetheless, until China takes the steps we now have requested for, we can not put our gamers and employees in danger by holding occasions in China. China’s leaders have left the WTA with no selection. I stay hopeful that our pleas can be heard and the Chinese language authorities will take steps to legitimately deal with this subject.”

#WTA #declares #suspension #tournaments #China #concern #Peng #Shuai

Supply by [tellusdaily.com]