WTA CEO Steve Simon doesn’t believe the email sent to the WTA on Wednesday was sent by Peng Shuai.
Peng went missing in China after accusing China’s former vice premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault.
In an email that was reportedly sent by Peng, the Chinese tennis player said the allegations she made were false and said she was safe.
“The statement released today by Chinese state media concerning Peng Shuai only raises my concerns as to her safety and whereabouts,” WTA CEO Simon said.
” I have a hard time believing that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email we received or believes what is being attributed to her. Peng Shuai displayed incredible courage in describing an allegation of sexual assault against a former top official in the Chinese government. The WTA and the rest of the world need independent and verifiable proof that she is safe. I have repeatedly tried to reach her via numerous forms of communication, to no avail.
“Peng Shuai must be allowed to speak freely, without coercion or intimidation from any source. Her allegation of sexual assault must be respected, investigated with full transparency and without censorship.
“The voices of women need to be heard and respected, not censored nor dictated to.”
The email Peng reportedly sent to the WTA
“Hello everyone, this is Peng Shuai. Regarding the latest news posted on the official WTA website, the content of the message was not agreed with me and was published without my permission. The news published, including information about sexual abuse, is not true. I have not disappeared or I was in danger. I was just resting at home and I was okay. Thanks again for taking care of me,” reads a message presented to CGTN as an email by Peng Shuai to WTA head Steve Simon.
“If the WTA still wants to publish news about me, please check with me first and publish it with my permission. As a professional tennis player, I thank you all for your friendly attitude and attention. I hope to promote Chinese tennis in the future with you if you have I will have such an opportunity in the future. I hope Chinese tennis will get better and better,”