WTA calls for inquiry into Chinese player’s sexual assault allegations

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The Women’s Tennis Association on Sunday called on Chinese authorities to investigate player Peng Shuai’s allegations that she was sexually abused by former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.

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why it matters: WTA CEO Steve Simon takes extraordinary step issue a statement Called for a “full, fair and transparent investigation” and “end of censorship” against the former world No. 1 doubles player accuse In a post deleted from his Weibo social media account.

  • The WTA risks jeopardizing its lucrative business relationship with the Chinese government with 11 tournaments and a long-term Tour Finals agreement. new York Times,
  • Peng, 35, has not been seen in public or made any further statements since his November 2 Weibo post, CNN Note, Neither the Chinese government nor officials of the China Tennis Association have commented on the allegations.

big picture: According to screenshots translated by CNN, Peng alleged on Weibo that Zhang “forced” her to have sex with her and they had a consensual relationship for nearly 10 years.

  • Zhang, 75, served on the ruling Communist Party of China’s Politburo Standing Committee, China’s most powerful body, from 2012 to 2017 and served as deputy prime minister from 2013 until his retirement in 2018.
  • After winning doubles matches at Wimbledon in 2014 and the French Open in 2014, Peng became the first Chinese tennis player to reach the top doubles ranking in 2014. Reuters note,
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What are they saying: “Peng Shuai and all women deserve to be heard, not censored,” Simon said in his statement.

  • “Her allegations of a former Chinese leader’s involvement in sexual assault must be taken extremely seriously.”
  • Simon also said he understands Peng is in Beijing, but according to the NYT, “I can’t confirm this because I haven’t spoken to him directly.”

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