The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) will pull out of China, costing the organization “hundreds of millions of dollars” if the Communist government in Beijing won’t account for star player Peng Shuai and investigate her explosive allegations of sexual misconduct by a high-ranking Party official.
WTA chief Steve Simon told CNN on Thursday, “We’re definitely willing to pull our business and deal with all the complications that come with it.”
“Because this is certainly, this is bigger than the business,” he added.
Simon insisted that Chinese officials handle the investigation “properly, meaning the allegations must be investigated fully, fairly, transparently and without censorship.”
NBA, take note: This is how it’s done.
Shuai — a former Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion– went missing two weeks ago, just a few days after accusing former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of having sexually assaulted her three years ago.
Weibo, China’s state-controlled social media platform, deleted Shuai’s allegations shortly after she published them.
CNN reported on November 3:
CNN could not independently verify the authenticity of the more than 1,600-word post, and has reached out to Peng for comment, as well as China’s State Council Information Office, which handles press inquires for the central government.
In the post, which reads as an open letter to Zhang, she alleges a relationship over an intermittent period that spanned at least 10 years. Peng says she opened her heart to Zhang, who is now 75 years old.
“Why did you have to come back to me, took me to your home to force me to have sex with you? Yes, I did not have any evidence, and it was simply impossible to have evidence,” she wrote.
“I couldn’t describe how disgusted I was, and how many times I asked myself am I still a human? I feel like a walking corpse. Every day I was acting, which person is the real me?”
CNN also noted that “top leaders of Zhang’s standing remain unapproachable and private even after retirement, which makes reaching him to comment for this story virtually impossible.”
Whatever happens next, the ball is in Beijing’s court. Given Communist strongman Xi Jinping’s increasingly intransigent and oppressive behavior, I’m not expecting any miracles for poor Peng Shuai.