The Women’s Tennis Association has stated in past weeks that they are willing to to pull business out of China if Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai’s accusations of sexual assault are not investigated and “until we have a chance to speak with [her] directly.”
While Peng has been seen on video in China, and spoke with the IOC saying she is “safe and well,” the WTA has not been satisfied with the degree of evidence provided.
“Unfortunately, the leadership in China has not addressed this very serious issue in any credible way,” Simon wrote in a statement to the WTA website on Wednesday. “While we now know where Peng is, I have serious doubts that she is free, safe and not subject to censorship, coercion and intimidation. The WTA has been clear on what is needed here, and we repeat our call for a full and transparent investigation – without censorship – into Peng Shuai’s sexual assault accusation.”
Simon made good on his promise Wednesday, suspending all WTA tournaments in China, including in Hong Kong.
“As a result, and with the full support of the WTA Board of Directors, I am announcing the immediate suspension of all WTA tournaments in China, including Hong Kong,” Simon added. “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”
The statement ended with Simon saying that he remains hopeful “that our pleas will be heard and the Chinese authorities will take steps to legitimately address this issue.”
Prior to the video posted by Chinese state media on November 20, of Peng eating at a restaurant and attending a youth tennis tournament in Beijing, Peng had not been seen in public since November 2, when she accused former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexually assaulting her three years ago.
The United Nations and the White House have both called for “proof” of Peng’s whereabouts, while the European Union called for “verifiable proof of Peng Shuai’s safety” on Tuesday.
“The EU joins growing international demands, including by sport professionals, for assurances that she is free and not under threat,” the EU said in a statement. “In this spirit, the EU requests the Chinese government to provide verifiable proof of Peng Shuai’s safety, well-being and whereabouts. The EU urges the Chinese authorities to conduct a full, fair and transparent investigation into her allegations of sexual assault.”
The Winter Olympics are set to begin in Beijing on February 4, 2022, and while some have called for the U.S. to boycott the 2022 Olympics, others have called on American athletes to “kick their commie a**es.”
As The Daily Wire reported, Sen Ted Cruz (R-TX) went on “Face The Nation” in late November, saying that he does not support a full boycott of the Olympics as it would punish the athletes.
“I’ve been leaning in hard saying we ought to move the Olympics out of China, that’s what we should have done,” Cruz told “Face The Nation” host Margaret Brennan. “The IOC refused to do that. I think it’s a mistake to have a full boycott of the Olympics. You know, Jimmy Carter tried that in the 1970s. All it did was punish a generation of athletes. We’ve got young men and young women, Americans, who spent their whole lives practicing for this moment. I don’t want to punish those young athletes. What we ought to do — I do agree with the notion of a so-called diplomatic boycott — which means we don’t send high ranking cabinet officials over there.”
“But I also think it’s important we do two things at the Olympics in China,” Cruz continued. “Number one, that we actually show the courage the Women’s Tennis Association is showing to call out the murder, the genocide, the torture, the lies, the complicity in COVID-19 of the Chinese communist government, to speak the truth. And then number two, I really hope our young men and women that they go over there and kick their commie a**es. We need to win in the Olympics.”
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to [email protected].