Peng Shuai US Open 2014

Journalist accuses WTA of ‘coercing’ Peng Shuai to ‘support the West’s attacks on China’

A Chinese news editor has accused the WTA of “depriving Peng Shuai of her freedom” after their refusal to accept China’s various reassurances over her safety and freedom.

Outspoken Chinese journalist and editor of the Global Times Hu Xijin has blasted the WTA over their refusal to accept China’s reassurances on Peng Shuai’s well-being and autonomy.

The Global Times is a nationalistic tabloid published by the largest newspaper group in China, the Communist Party’s People’s Daily. As such, Hu has a ‘China state-affiliated media’ tag on his Twitter profile.

French Open and Wimbledon doubles champion Peng Shuai accused former Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli of forcing her into a sexual relationship and subsequently went missing in the weeks following her allegations.

When global concern began to rise, Chinese state media released an email purportedly from Peng herself, as well as images and videos of her participating in a variety of social activities.

However, these measures didn’t satisfy WTA CEO and chairman Steve Simon’s calls for clarity over Peng’s safety and full freedom.

As a result of their failure and refusal to cooperate, the WTA have decided to withdraw all of their scheduled tournaments from China, including the prestigious WTA Finals.

Hu, who is known for his combative and provocative tweets, said in a post on Twitter that “[the] WTA is coercing Peng Shuai to support the West’s attack on Chinese system.

“They are depriving Peng Shuai’s freedom of expression, demanding that her description of her current situation must meet their expectation.”

Both the Chinese government and Zhang are yet to address the allegations directly, but the Chinese Foreign Ministry has accused the West of “maliciously hyping up” and “politicising” the situation.

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.