It’s been nearly three weeks since Peng Shuai made the post on her social media account accusing China’s former Vice Premier, Zhang Gaoli, of forcing her to have sexual relations with him. If you’re following this story closely, these three weeks of Peng essentially being wiped from the face of the Earth have felt like an eternity. Sure, the International Olympic Committee claims that the missing Chinese star appeared free and in good spirits, but they conveniently don’t have a video to share with the public. This raises even more questions about the legitimacy of the interaction as the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing are right around the corner. This would not be the first time that the IOC has turned a blind eye to human rights to continue operating business as usual.
While many players across various sports have spoken out about the disappearance of Peng, chairman, and CEO of the WTA, Steve Simon, has made it very clear what his, and the organization’s, stance is on the matter. With the willingness to pull all competition out of China altogether, the WTA would sacrifice millions of dollars in revenue, and the organization isn’t even batting an eye at that possibility, as it wants a transparent investigation and assurances of Peng’s well-being; something that the lone still image the IOC provided did not.
“If you had told me a week-and-a-half ago that the Women’s Tennis Association was going to be the most effective and bravest human rights organization in the world, I would have thought you were bananas, but here we are,” former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, Kelley Eckels Currie said in an interview on Tuesday.
The WTA is currently the only sports-related organization to speak up and take a stance on human rights. The ATP stated on November 15th in support of the WTA’s view but has not made any declaration of potentially pulling out of tournaments scheduled in China.