Man claiming to be Peng Shuai’s friend says WTA chief ‘ignored’ her email

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A man, who had earlier shared a video of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, has accused the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) chief of “turning a blind eye” to an email he purportedly wrote not to harass her Was.

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Ding Li, who claims to be a friend of Peng, shared a screenshot of a purported letter written by the tennis player and sent to WTA chief Steve Simon.

“We need to explain to Steve Simon why he turned a blind eye to Peng Shuai’s email! Why didn’t he respond to his email?” He said in a tweet on Friday, to which he added a screenshot of the purported email, titled “Privileged and Confidential”.


According to Mr. Ding, Peng requested Mr. Simon not to disturb him and “hype up” his personal affairs.

“Thank you for your concern about me,” said the letter, reportedly written in Mandarin by Peng. “At the moment I do not want to be disturbed, and especially [can you] Don’t publicize my personal affairs. I look forward to living a quiet life. Thanks again for your concern.”

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Little is known about Mr. Ding, a senior executive at Global D-Sports, a company that organizes and manages events alongside athletes.

His Twitter profile revealed that he had shared photos and a video of Peng years after he retweeted a post from Roland Garros in 2017 and a tweet containing a picture of a tennis court, which dates back to 2012.

Mr Ding told the BBC that Mr Simon allegedly gave Peng’s contact details to a dozen people, including tennis players and media outlets. This made her “annoyed” with multiple phone calls.

But when the BBC requested Mr Ding to speak with Peng, he said she “only wanted to have a good rest in her own home”, to allay concerns over the tennis star’s whereabouts by state media. Reiterating the same claim.

Mark Dreyer, the founder of sports news portal China Sports Insider, called Mr Ding’s post “bizarre”.

“Ding Li’s bizarre post carried the ‘I’m just resting at home and everything is fine’ narrative. In addition to causing a lot of protests, his screenshot of the alleged email from Peng Shuai to Steve Simon is now at the top of the news cycle. But is back,” he said in a tweet.

The new development comes amid global outrage over the tennis star’s whereabouts and safety after she accused former Chinese vice premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault.

Mr. Zhang has maintained his silence and has not been seen in public this entire month, while several photos and videos of Peng, some of which were tweeted by Mr. Ding.

However, the efforts have failed to address the concerns, as Mr Simon called the exercise “inadequate” to address his concerns.

The European Union, the United Nations and the United States have all sought answers regarding Peng’s security.

His claims, which were taken down Weibo soon after being posted, have shed a light on censorship in cases involving political dissidents, entertainers, business leaders and others. His case is also one of the most important cases in China’s #MeToo movement.

Despite public outcry in the tennis world and global media, Chinese officials have not directly addressed the allegations, even accusing people of “hyping up” and “politicizing” the matter.


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