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InvestmentsTennis-WTA threatens to pull out of tournaments in China over Peng By...

Tennis-WTA threatens to pull out of tournaments in China over Peng By Reuters


¬© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Tennis – WTA Mandatory – Madrid Open – Madrid, Spain – May 6, 2018 China’s Peng Shuai in motion in opposition to Spain’s Garbine Muguruza throughout their spherical of 64 match REUTERS/Susana Vera

By Tony Munroe

BEIJING (Reuters) -An outcry over the whereabouts of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai escalated on Friday because the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) stated it was ready to pull its tournaments out of China in the event that they weren’t happy with the response to her sexual assault allegation.

Former doubles world primary Peng has not been seen or heard from publicly since she stated on Chinese social media in early November that former vice-premier, Zhang Gaoli, coerced her into intercourse https://www.reuters.com/world/china/china-tennis-star-peng-says-ex-vice-premier-forced-her-into-sex-2021-11-03 and so they later had an on-off consensual relationship.

Neither Zhang or the Chinese authorities have commented on her allegation. Peng’s social media submit was rapidly deleted and the subject has been blocked from dialogue on China’s closely censored web.

Concern https://www.reuters.com/article/tennis-china-peng-itf/tennis-itf-says-player-safety-top-priority-amid-concerns-over-chinas-peng-idINL1N2S91BO among the many international tennis group and past has grown over Peng’s security and whereabouts since her allegation, with the WTA calling for an investigation and the world’s high gamers, together with Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka, tweeting #WhereIsPengShuai.

WTA chief govt Steve Simon instructed numerous U.S. media shops on Thursday the tour would think about pulling tournaments price tens of thousands and thousands of {dollars} out of China.

“We’re definitely willing to pull our business and deal with all the complications that come with it,” he instructed CNN in an interview.

“Because this is certainly, this is bigger than the business. Women need to be respected and not censored.”

Hu Xijin, a well-connected Chinese state media editor weighed in on the scandal on Twitter (NYSE:) early on Friday, saying he didn’t imagine she had been the goal of retribution.

“As a person who is familiar with Chinese system, I don’t believe Peng Shuai has received retaliation and repression speculated by foreign media for the thing people talked about,” stated Hu Xijin, the editor of the Global Times, on Twitter.

The Global Times is printed by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, and Hu has an energetic presence on Twitter, which is blocked in China. He didn’t make any comparable touch upon his official account on Weibo (NASDAQ:), China’s equal of Twitter.

The problem has emerged as China prepares to host the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February amid calls from international rights teams and others for a boycott over its human rights document.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) stated it could not touch upon the matter.

“Experience shows that quiet diplomacy offers the best opportunity to find a solution for questions of such nature,” an IOC spokesperson stated. “This explains why the IOC will not comment any further at this stage.”

U.S. Representative Jim Banks of Indiana stated he has written https://twitter.com/RepJimBanks/status/1461434960531922950?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet to U.S. President Joe Biden about Peng’s disappearance, urging him to elevate her case with China and to warn Beijing it may have a unfavorable impression on the Winter Olympics.

On Wednesday, WTA’s Simon solid doubt on an e-mail https://www.reuters.com/business/media-telecom/wtas-simon-voices-concern-over-statement-attributed-peng-2021-11-18, which was additionally launched by a Chinese state media outlet on Twitter, purporting to be from Peng and denying the allegations of sexual assault.

“I have a hard time believing that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email we received or believes what is being attributed to her,” he stated.

By Friday, the hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai had racked up over 32 million mentions on Facebook (NASDAQ:)’s Instagram, which can be blocked in China, in addition to Twitter, in accordance to hashtag evaluation web site BrandMentions.

In distinction, the subject stays closely censored in China’s tightly managed our on-line world. As of Friday, searches for the WTA’s official account on Weibo yielded no outcomes though its account remained out there. Peng’s title on Weibo additionally continues to yield no search outcomes.

Still, a handful of Chinese customers took to the official Weibo accounts of tennis stars Williams and Novak Djokovic, who has additionally expressed shock on the state of affairs, to thank them for releasing statements. “Thank you for speaking out!,” stated one.

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