Peng Shuai: WTA to continue blanket ban on Chinese events throughout 2022 as it seeks to resolve

Last November, tennis star Peng was feared to be held incommunicado by the Chinese government after she accused retired Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of forcing her to have sex during a years-long affair.

Peng, a three-time Olympic champion and Grand Slam doubles champion, denied the sexual assault claim.

The WTA has continued to call for a thorough and transparent investigation into Ping’s allegations and has suspended all tournaments in China due to her safety.

“We remain committed to finding a solution to this,” Simon told The Tennis Podcast.

“We want to find a solution that Peng is comfortable with, that the Chinese government can be comfortable with, and we can be comfortable with.

“We don’t want to withdraw from China. We have suspended our operations there now. We will continue to do so until we find a solution.”

“We will remain resolute. We hope to be back there in 2023 with the decision that shows progress in space. This is a victory for the world if we can make it.”

Chinese government-controlled media criticized the WTA on Twitter after it announced the blanket ban last year, accusing the governing body of “making an exaggerated show” and “supporting the West’s attack on the Chinese system”.

But Simon insists the organization will not simply give up on the cause.

‘We have to find a solution’

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said Olympic officials met with Ping in February, fulfilling their promise to hold a meeting with the athlete.

The dinner, held on the sidelines of the Beijing Winter Games, was the first in-person meeting between IOC President Thomas Bach and Peng since the former Olympian made the allegations, which have since been erased from the Chinese internet.

Bach and Ping first agreed to meet during the Beijing Olympics in a video call in November last year, but the IOC has come under fire for its handling of the situation, with its critics accusing it of supporting the Chinese government’s efforts to silence Peng.

Last year, Simon said the IOC’s intervention was not enough to allay concerns about Ping’s safety.

“We have not had any contact with Peng and the world has not seen Peng since the Olympics,” Simon added.

“I don’t think you are going to make a difference in this world by staying away from problems. You have to make the change.

“It may not be everything we want. But we have to find a solution that finds that balance that allows us to go back and see progress in the region.”

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