Seth Udinski, FISM News
The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has suspended all matches in China in response to the controversy surrounding tennis player Peng Shuai’s safety. Several weeks ago, Peng vanished from the public eye after announcing criticism against the Communist Chinese government, accusing a government member of sexual abuse.
While Shuai has appeared in video conferences with International Olympic Committee officials, the World Tennis released a statement saying that the appearances are “insufficient evidence” of the tennis player’s safety. Other than the two video conference calls with the IOC, Shuai has not appeared in public since the accusation against the Chinese politician, causing many to fear for her safety.
In the lengthy statement on the matter WTA chief Steve Simon said in part,
In good conscience, I don’t see how I can ask our athletes to compete there. The leadership in China has not addressed this very serious issue in any credible way. If powerful people can suppress the voices of women and sweep allegations of sexual assault under the rug, then the basis on which the WTA was founded – equality for women – would suffer an immense setback. I will not and cannot let that happen to the WTA and its players.
This announcement comes at a key moment in the Olympic calendar, as the world is only months away from the start of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. Chinese officials responded by calling the move a “politicization of sports.”