The WTA has announced that tennis tournaments will return to China in the fall. In late 2021, former Chinese tennis star Shuai Peng accused a former Chinese vice premier of sexual assault. The WTA strongly responded, suspending all tennis operations in China.
The WTA demanded China conduct a full and transparent investigation into the Peng allegations. Also, the WTA wanted to meet with Peng in person. But the WTA's demands were not met. However, the WTA officials think there would have been more harm than good by continuing their boycott.
"After 16 months of suspended tennis competition in China and sustained efforts at achieving our original requests, the situation has shown no sign of changing. We have concluded we will never fully secure those goals, and it will be our players and tournaments who ultimately will be paying an extraordinary price for their sacrifices.
For these reasons, the WTA is lifting its suspension of the operation of tournaments in the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”) and will resume tournaments in China this September," the WTA said in a statement.
The WTA: We were assured Peng is living safely in Beijing
In their statement, the WTA said they were assured Peng was "living safely." Also, the WTA was that their players would be 100% safe while competing in Chinese tournaments.
"We have not been able to achieve everything we set out for, but we have been in touch with people close to Peng and are assured she is living safely with her family in Beijing. We also have received assurances that WTA players and staff operating in China will be safe and protected while in the country.
The WTA takes this commitment seriously and will hold all parties responsible. While we do not regret our decision on the suspension, the WTA and its members feel that now is the time to return to our mission in China. We are hopeful that by returning more progress can be made," the WTA explained in a statement.