The disappearance of Peng Shuai could force the WTA to pull tennis out of China

A growing number of supporters, worries and doubts about the whereabouts of Chinese tennis star Peng Shaui are beginning to threaten China’s place on the world sports stage.

The head of the Women’s Tennis Association is now pledging to pull all tennis tournaments out of China if the former Wimbledon doubles champion is not found soon. Peng, 35, dared to “tell the truth” about Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli forcing her to have sex at his home and then forcing her to have an affair, in a social media post controlled by the authorities. Browsing China deleted on November 2.

No one has seen her since.

WTA director Steve Simon said her safety was more important than the game and a purported email from her denied her earlier claims and said she was “fine” almost definitely fake. “It is very hard for me to believe that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email we received or to believe what is being attributed to her,” he said. said in a statement posted on the WTA website. “Peng Shuai showed incredible courage in describing an allegation of sexual assault against a former highest-ranking official in the Chinese government. The WTA and the rest of the world need independent and verifiable proof that she’s safe. I have tried many times to contact her through various contact forms but to no avail.”

In an interview with CNN on Thursday night, he went a step further, threatening to boycott China if she didn’t show up soon. “We’re definitely willing to keep our business running and deal with all the complications that come with it,” Simon told CNN. “Because this is definitely, this is bigger than the business. Women need to be respected and not censored.”

Simon is one of many people speaking out in the global tennis scene to sound the alarm about the missing tennis player. Naomi Osaka, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams request to investigate her disappearance. “I am heartbroken and shocked to hear the news of my counterpart Peng Shuai,” Williams tweeted Thursday. “I hope she is safe and found as soon as possible. This must be investigated and we must not remain silent.”

British tennis legend Andy Murray joined in on Friday, posting a speech by Czech tennis player Barbora Krejcikova about the 1989 Velvet Revolution that liberated her country from communism. “Tennis player Peng Shuai is currently unknown after making allegations of Sexual Abuse against a Chinese government official,” he wrote on Twitter. “This keynote gives us a reminder and some hope that things may change in the future.”

Peng’s allegation in a social media post that was deleted about 30 minutes after she wrote it shocked the international tennis world, but there is little sign of the controversy in China, where even even searched her name on the state-controlled internet. blank. Fifth, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry even hinted that he had never heard of Peng. “This is not a foreign matter,” Zhao Lijian told reporters on Thursday. “And I don’t know about the related situation you mentioned.”

The International Olympic Committee, no doubt wary of stirring up trouble ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February, has also remained surprisingly quiet. The committee first expressed relief when the largely discount email for Simon was made public and now declined to comment. “Experience shows that quiet diplomacy offers the best chance of finding solutions to questions of this nature,” the IOC posted on Twitter on Thursday. “This explains why the IOC will not comment further at this stage.”

But a screenshot of her post — predicting her own death — is still circulating. “I know that for your outstanding one, Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli, you said you were not afraid,” she wrote in the original post. “But even if it’s just me, like an egg hitting a rock, or a moth rushing into a fire, destroying itself, I’ll tell the truth about you.” The disappearance of Peng Shuai could force the WTA to pull tennis out of China


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