Chinese tennis "outraged" after WTA decision over Peng case

The China Tennis Association (CTA) expressed its “outrage” at the decision of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) to suspend tournaments in China over uncertainties surrounding tennis player Peng Shuai, according to the newspaper Global Times in inaccessible social networks in the Asian country.

The newspaper quoted through Twitter and of Facebook a statement “obtained exclusively” in which the CTA criticizes the decision of the WTA for “being based on fictitious information” and because it “will affect the relevant athlete” and “the opportunities to compete” of local tennis players.

The CTA statement does not exist on its website and, in fact, all information related to the Peng case – which accused a former government official of sexual abuse – continues to be censored in Chinese media and social networks.

On the other hand, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin, who in previous press conferences had rejected questions about the case as “not being a diplomatic matter”, limited himself to commenting today that “China opposes the politicization of sport” .

Recently, another spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Zhao Lijian, stressed that the tennis player had already “appeared” at some public events and that her case should not be “politicized”.

The WTA decided to suspend the tournaments it holds in China due to the uncertainties that have surrounded the case of tennis player Peng, who denounced sexual abuse by former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, and of which there is hardly any evidence, outside of communications from Government affiliated media.

According to Steve Simon, President of the WTA, all WTA tournaments held in China, including Hong Kong, are suspended. “I don’t see how our athletes can compete there while Peng is unable to communicate freely and has been pressured to contradict her allegations of sexual abuse,” Simon said.