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  HOME PAGE 16/08/2022 22:48 
02.12.2021 11:56 News >> China Decries WTA Move To Suspend Tournaments In Country

China Decries WTA Move To Suspend Tournaments In Country

Women's Tennis Association suspends events in China amid persisting fears for Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai's safety.

China has criticized the "unilateral" decision of the World Tennis Association (WTA) to suspend all tournaments in the country amid concern for Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai.
Peng, 35, a former doubles world number one, disappeared from public view last month after accusing China's former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault.
"The unilateral decision of the WTA in the name of 'protecting its players,' was made based on fictitious information," the Chinese Tennis Association (CTA) said in a statement published by state-run daily Global Times on Thursday.
Expressing "indignation and firm opposition" to the move, the CTA said it would "severely harm the female tennis players' fair opportunities to compete."
The country's Foreign Ministry also weighed in on the issue, with spokesperson Wang Wenbin stressing that Beijing "has always been firmly opposed to the politicization of sports."
There was widespread apprehension for Peng's safety as she was not seen for two weeks after narrating the allegations against Zhang in a social media post on Nov. 2, which was quickly taken down by Chinese authorities.
As calls for proof of her well-being grew, Chinese state media published an email purportedly penned by Peng, in which she retracted her claims against Zhang.
She later held an online meeting with Olympic officials, including International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach, telling them that she was "safe and well."
However, the WTA had dismissed the video meeting as "insufficient evidence" of Peng's safety.
In a statement on Wednesday, WTA head Steve Simon said the association would "immediately suspend 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 said.
Simon said Chinese officials had been unable to "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."
"I very much regret it has come to this point … However, unless China takes the steps we have asked for, we cannot put our players and staff at risk by holding events in China," he said.
"China's leaders have left the WTA with no choice. I remain hopeful that our pleas will be heard and the Chinese authorities will take steps to legitimately address this issue."​​​​​​​ -



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