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WTA CEO Steve Simon announced Wednesday the organization is suspending all tournaments in China in response to Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai's sexual assault allegations and subsequent disappearance. Peng has been seen in public only once since Nov. 2, when she accused former Communist Party leader Zhang Gaoli of pressuring her into sex.

The move comes after years of goodwill and relationship building between the WTA and China. China currently hosts 11 WTA tournaments and was slated to host the WTA Finals in Shenzhen from 2022-2030. 

Here part of a Simon's statement, via

"I very much regret it has come to this point. The tennis communities in China and Hong Kong are full of great people with whom we have worked for many years. They should be proud of their achievements, hospitality and success. However, unless China takes the steps we have asked for, we cannot put our players and staff at risk by holding events in China. China's leaders have left the WTA with no choice. I remain hopeful that our pleas will be heard and the Chinese authorities will take steps to legitimately address this issue."

Simon, who threatened to pull WTA's business from China on Nov. 18, did exactly that Wednesday because the country failed to "verifiably prove that Peng is free and able to speak without interference or intimidation, and investigate the allegation of sexual assault in a full, fair and transparent manner."

Chinese state media released video of Peng dining with her friends and coach in Beijing on Nov. 20. The former world No. 1 also allegedly appeared on an IOC video conference a day later. Chair of the Athletes' Commission Emma Terho, a member of the four-person IOC video conference, claimed Peng was "fine" in a statement. 

But those appearances, which were not public, haven't quelled the WTA's fears about Peng's safety. That prompted Simon to suspend all WTA tournaments in China. 

"While we now know where Peng is, I have serious doubts that she is free, safe and not subject to censorship, coercion and intimidation," Simon wrote. "The WTA has been clear on what is needed here, and we repeat our call for a full and transparent investigation – without censorship – into Peng Shuai's sexual assault accusation.

"None of this is acceptable nor can it become acceptable. If powerful people can suppress the voices of women and sweep allegations of sexual assault under the rug, then the basis on which the WTA was founded – equality for women – would suffer an immense setback. I will not and cannot let that happen to the WTA and its players."

Peng made her allegations in a since-deleted online post to the Chinese social-media site Weibo. But China has denied the allegations and censored the surrounding discussion. Simon believes the country "has not addressed this very serious issue in any credible way" and does not want to subject more WTA athletes to similar censorship. 

"In good conscience, I don't see how I can ask our athletes to compete there when Peng Shuai is not allowed to communicate freely and has seemingly been pressured to contradict her allegation of sexual assault," Simon wrote. "Given the current state of affairs, I am also greatly concerned about the risks that all of our players and staff could face if we were to hold events in China in 2022."

While losing Chinese business will be a financial hit to the WTA, Simon encouraged others to speak out about sexual assault regardless of the cost. 

"The WTA will do everything possible to protect its players," Simon wrote. "As we do so, I hope leaders around the world will continue to speak out so justice can be done for Peng, and all women, no matter the financial ramifications."