The United States National Women’s Basketball Association (WNBA), Atlanta Dream team—on Wednesday, Dec. 8, announced that it supported Chinese women’s tennis player Peng Shuai and the International Women’s Tennis Association. (WTA).
On Nov. 2, Peng Shuai claimed that she was sexually assaulted by Zhang Gaoli, the former Vice Premier of China. The post accusing Zhang Gaoli on Peng Shuai’s blog was deleted about 20 minutes after it was posted, and Peng’s name has become a sensitive word, and even the word “tennis” has been blocked in some places on Chinese social media.
Chinese officials have never responded regarding Peng Shuai’s accusations against Zhang Gaoli and appear to have no intention of investigating the matter.
After accusing Zhang, Peng went missing. Concerned for Peng Shuai’s safety, the WTA announced last week that it would suspend all tennis events held in China, including Hong Kong.
The Atlanta Dream team wrote on Twitter: Atlanta Dream believes that protecting citizens and human rights is a fundamental part of our core values. They publicly protested against this atrocity.
The Dream Team also stated: “For this, we stand with the International Women’s Tennis Association, Peng Shuai and all female athletes.”
Immediately after the Peng Shuai incident became known, American NBA basketball star Enes Kanter tweeted: “Because of the Peng Shuai incident, we should move the Winter Olympics out of China!”
Kanter attached to his Tweet the tags “#WhereIsPengShuai” and “#NoBeijing2022” in his tweet. He also said that all the gold medals in the world are not worth betraying your ethics, values, and principles.
On Dec. 6, the WTA announced the schedule for the first half of 2022 after announcing that they would be suspending their events in China.
The ATP, the governing body of men’s professional tennis, has not commented.
However, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) president said it has no plans to suspend tournaments in China.