Monday, May 20, 2024
HomeSportsPeng Shuai case: WTA reiterates concern for Chinese player

Peng Shuai case: WTA reiterates concern for Chinese player

The president of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), which manages the women’s tennis circuit, does not intend to lower his vigilance. Steve Simon expressed, Saturday, November 27, his concern about the freedom of speech of the Chinese player Peng Shuai, who accused a senior leader of his country in early November of forced sex.

Mr. Simon “Remains deeply concerned about Peng’s freedom from censorship or coercion and has decided not to contact her again by email until he is sure that his answers are personal and not those of its censors ”, said a spokesperson for the WTA. “Steve Simon contacted Peng Shuai through various communication channels. He sent her two emails, but it was clear that his responses were influenced by others ”, explained the spokesperson.

Unconvinced by the reappearance of the sportswoman in the Chinese media last weekend, this discreet man, and until then unknown to the general public, assured a few days before that the WTA was “Ready to withdraw [de Chine] its activities and to cope with all the complications that arise from it ” if the country refused to cooperate.

The spokesperson, however, did not wish to return to information from the BBC based on the statements of a “Friend” of the player and that she sent an email to Steve Simon, thanking him for his concern, but asking him not to intervene in order to let her ” calm “.

The analysis: Article reserved for our subscribers Peng Shuai affair challenges central Chinese power

Shedding light on the fate of Peng Shuai

The 35-year-old sportswoman, doubles champion at Roland-Garros in 2014, had published in early November on the Chinese social network Weibo a long message on her relationship with the former Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli, forty years her senior. In this text in the form of an open letter quickly censored on the Chinese Internet, she spoke at length about her feelings towards the former leader, retired since 2018. She criticized him in particular for having forced her to a sex three years ago.

Synthesis: What we know about the disappearance of the Chinese tennis player

Many stars of world tennis, from Chris Evert to Novak Djokovic, and several Western countries, notably France and the United States but also the European Union and the United Nations, have asked Beijing to shed light on the fate of Peng Shuai.

The young woman reappeared last weekend in a restaurant in Beijing and during a tennis tournament held in the Chinese capital, according to videos published by official media. On Sunday, she also spoke by videoconference with the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach. According to the IOC, Peng Shuai explained that she was “Safe and sound at her home in Beijing but that she would like her privacy to be respected”.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers The suspicious disappearance of Peng Shuai, one of the facets of the repression in China

However, the purely official and civilized nature of his statements as well as his appearances was not enough to reassure, and the movement of support continued. On Tuesday, Beijing finally reacted officially, while the Chinese foreign ministry generally refused to comment on the matter, saying that it did not fall within the diplomatic sphere.

But, instead of giving news of Peng Shuai, Chinese diplomacy spokesman Zhao Lijian called for “Stop deliberately blaming this issue for hostile ends, and above all turning it into a political issue”. The next day, it was the European Union which asked the Chinese authorities to “Verifiable evidence” of the player’s freedom of movement and an investigation “Transparent” on allegations of sexual abuse.

The World with AFP

Recent posts