- The governing body of men's tennis (ATP) backed a WTA (WTO) call for China to investigate allegations made by Peng Shuai of a former Chinese vice-premier.
On Sunday, The WTA asked China to investigate Peng's claims, but also to put its way to the end of censorship of the ex-referant. read more.
One of China's biggest sporting stars, Zhang Gaoli, alleged on his Facebook account on Nov. 2 that she coerced her into sex and later began to meet and had an on-off consensual relationship.
Peng, 35, said that she was not able to support the allegations in the post, which was deleted about half an hour after it was published. She deleted the post and left not enough evidence to support it.
"The safety of our tennis community is a key to us," ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said on Monday.
"We are deeply concerned with the uncertainty surrounding the safety and whereabouts of Peng Shuai's WTA player.
Those recent assurances received by WTA that she was safe and accounted for, and continued to monitor the situation closely, encourage us.
"Separately, we accept full support of the WTA's call for an inquiry into sexual assault allegations against Peng Shuai."
China's internet is heavily censored and the privat life of top leaders is an extremely sensitive subject. Zhang, now 75, was vice-premier between 2013 and 2018 and was on the Politburo Standing Committee from 2012 to 2017.
In 2014, the first Chinese player to become world rankings winner was doubles no. 1 in Hong Kong. At the moment, the global tennis community has not seen the figures since.
"An announcement from the governing body on Sunday concerning Peng Shuai, is deeply concerned," said Steve Simon, president of the WTA. "All women deserve to be heard, not censored."
"An accusation about the conduct of a former Chinese leader involving a sexual assault has to be treated with the greatest seriousness."
The State Council Information office of China and the Chinese Tennis Association had not responded immediately to the comments requested during the interview regarding the WTA statement.
In addition, the International Tennis Federation hasn't responded immediately to the comment requests.
Simon told the New York Times on Sunday that no one at the tour spoke directly to Peng but he received assurances from the Chinese Tennis Association that she was safe and not physically threatened.
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