June 17, 2024

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Peng Shuai case | WTA boss threatens to leave China

(Beijing) WTA boss, who manages women’s professional tennis rounds, has not ruled out withdrawing matches from China unless Beijing sheds light on the disappearance of champion Peng Shuai.

The tennis world has not heard of the player since he accused a former communist regime official of forcing him to have sex in early November.

In an interview with CNN on Thursday, WTA boss Steve Simon threatened to withdraw the women’s tennis tournament from China.

Photo by Yong Tech Lim, AB

WTA’s Big Boss, Steve Simon

“We are completely prepared to withdraw our operations (from China) and face all the problems that may arise,” said the women’s tennis boss.

“Because (rape allegations) are more important than business,” Simon told American television.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gauli, who was one of China’s seven most powerful politicians from 2013 to 2018, accused 35-year-old Peng Shuai on social media of forcing her to have sex three years ago, before turning her into his mistress.

The allegation was made on November 2 on Player’s official Weibo account, a Chinese account equivalent to Twitter.

China quickly blocked any reference to the news. AFP could not confirm whether this was written by Peng Shuai in person.

Since then, the player has not been in direct contact or appeared in public and Zhang Kohli has never publicly reacted to the allegations.

On Wednesday, the Chinese English-language public channel CGTN released a screen shot of an alleged email sent to Peng Shuai by Chinese player WTA management.

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On CNN, Mr. Simon reiterated his doubts about the credibility of the news, declaring his allegations against champion Zhang Gauli “false”.

“I do not believe it’s true,” Simon told CNN, calling the email “stabilized.”

“If she was forced to write, we would not know if anyone wrote for her […] But we will not give an assurance until we talk to him in person, ”the WTA official said.

When questioned by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesmen several times, they said they were completely unaware of the matter, refusing to comment to argue that it was not a diplomatic issue.