How's this for a bold statement?
"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." - Steve Simon, WTA Chairman & CEO
Isn't that a beautiful thing? Here's a link to the full statement on Twitter:
For those of you that don't know the back story, the WTA isn't messing around when it comes to verifying the well-being of one of its star players, Peng Shuia, who recently went missing after accusing a Chinese state official of sexual abuse. Last month, the hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai went viral on Twitter, and many top athletes from across the sports world have voiced concerns about her well-being.
In the past week, Peng Shuai has re-appeared in brief glimpses at a tennis event in China and on a brief phone call with the olympic committee, in which she claimed she was ok. However, her statement about sexual abuse had mysteriously been deleted, and her whereabouts otherwise have been unknown.
All this to say, the WTA is still not convinced that Peng is ok, nor that her concerns over sexual abuse have been addressed with the Chinese government. In an effort to support their athlete, who is a previous doubles Grand Slam champion, they have issued a strong and clear warning to China that they will not tolerate any further uncertainty by pulling out of all tournaments scheduled on Chinese ground until further notice.
20-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic reacted positively to the move by the WTA:
So what do you all think? Is this the right move by the WTA?
Of course it is. That was a silly question. It's pretty obvious that Peng Shuai has been forced into silence and retraction of her previous statements, and that she is being watched/controlled by the CCP. Meanwhile the Chinese government has been almost entirely silent about the matter, even with the prospect of the International Olympic Committee considering a change of venue for the 2022 Olympics and now the WTA pulling out of all tournaments on their soil.
Of course, the CCP has their own spin on things. This is a tweet from Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of a state run tabloid:
Alright, buddy. Sure thing.
In all seriousness, let's pray that Peng is ok. And let's hope that the WTA holds firm on its position and does what nobody else seems willing to by standing up to the bully government of the CCP. For now, they have my full support.