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The head of the women’s professional tennis tour announced that all WTA tournaments would be suspended in China because of concerns about the safety of Peng Shuai, a Grand Slam doubles champion who accused a former high-ranking government official in that country of sexual assault.

Peng dropped out of public view after raising the allegations about former vice premier Zhang Gaoli in a November 2 social media posting that was quickly taken down by Chinese authorities.

“Unfortunately, the leadership in China has not addressed this very serious issue in any credible way,” WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon wrote in a statement distributed by the tour.

“While we now know where Peng is, I have serious doubts that she is free, safe, and not subject to censorship, coercion, and intimidation.”

Simon repeated his call for a “full and transparent investigation — without censorship” into Peng’s accusations and took an unusually strong stand against China, which was supposed to be the site of several tennis tournaments next year, including the prestigious season-ending WTA Finals.



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