Chinese participant Peng Shuai deserves “to be heard, not censored” after publicly accusing the nation’s former vice-premier of sexual assault, says the Women’s Tennis Association.
In a submit on Chinese social media website Weibo, Peng mentioned she was “forced” right into a sexual relationship with Zhang Gaoli.
“The events concerning Peng Shuai are of deep concern,” mentioned the WTA.
“The allegations must be investigated fully, fairly, transparently and without censorship.”
Peng, 35, is a former world primary doubles participant who has received two Grand Slam titles – at Wimbledon in 2013 and the 2014 French Open, each alongside Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei.
She additionally achieved a career-high singles rankings of 14 in 2011 and reached the US Open singles semi-finals in 2014.
Peng’s allegations had been made earlier this month and shortly deleted from China’s web. It is the primary time such a declare has been made towards certainly one of China’s senior political leaders.
Zhang, 75, has not responded to her claims.
He served as China’s vice-premier between 2013 and 2018 and was a detailed ally of President Xi Jinping.
Peng acknowledged that she wouldn’t be capable to present proof to again up her claims.
“As an organisation dedicated to women, we remain committed to the principles we were founded on – equality, opportunity and respect,” mentioned WTA chief govt Steve Simon.
“Peng Shuai, and all women, deserve to be heard, not censored. Her accusation about the conduct of a former Chinese leader involving a sexual assault must be treated with the utmost seriousness.
“In all societies, the behaviour that she alleges happened must be investigated, not condoned or ignored.
“We commend Peng Shuai for her remarkable courage and strength in coming forward. Women around the world are finding their voices so injustices can be corrected.
“Our absolute and unwavering precedence is the well being and security of our gamers. We are talking out so justice could be completed.”