Women’s Tennis Chairman Skeptical of All-Is-Well Email from Missing Peng Shuai
Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) chairman and CEO Steve Simon on Wednesday expressed deep skepticism about a purported email allegedly from missing Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai. Simon said he had a “very hard time believing that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email.”
“The statement released today by Chinese state media concerning Peng Shuai only raises my concerns as to her safety and whereabouts,” Simon wrote in his statement on Wednesday.
“The WTA and the rest of the world need independent and verifiable proof that she is safe. I have repeatedly tried to reach her via numerous forms of communication, to no avail,” Simon said.
“Peng Shuai must be allowed to speak freely, without coercion or intimidation from any source. Her allegation of sexual assault must be respected, investigated with full transparency and without censorship,” he demanded.
Peng, once a top-ranked women’s tennis player worldwide and a major celebrity in China, wrote a social media post on the state-controlled Weibo social media platform on November 2 accusing former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexually assaulting her a decade ago. Peng was about 25 at the time, while Zhang is 40 years her senior.