China has slammed the WTA over their decision to suspend all tournaments scheduled to take place in next year. On Wednesday the WTA announced it was suspending all tournaments scheduled to take place in China amid their concerns over Peng Shuai's well-being.
The WTA wanted a verifiable proof that Peng was well but didn't get any. “We are firmly opposed to acts politicising sport,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said in a brief comment to reporters when asked about the WTA boycott, per the Herald Sun.
"We are all thinking of her and hoping that everything will be OK."
A Chinese journalist went even further
“WTA is coercing Peng Shuai to support the West’s attack on Chinese system,” Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times -- a branch of Chinese state media, tweeted.
“They are depriving Peng Shuai’s freedom of expression, demanding that her description of her current situation must meet their expectation”. The report accused the WTA of acting on behalf of "the West."
“The WTA has acted as a lever of Western public opinion against China’s political system,” it said. “To this end, they repeat the old tricks and once again set the precedent of boycotting sports events for political purposes.
This creates new uncertainties for international sports”. The WTA suspended all tournaments in China, including Hong Kong. "As a result, and with the full support of the WTA Board of Directors, I am announcing the immediate suspension of all WTA tournaments in China, including Hong Kong.
In good conscience, I don’t see how I can ask our athletes to compete there when Peng Shuai is not allowed to communicate freely and has seemingly been pressured to contradict her allegation of sexual assault. Given the current state of affairs, I am also greatly concerned about the risks that all of our players and staff could face if we were to hold events in China in 2022," WTA CEO Steve Simon said in a statement.