International Tennis Federation (ITF) President David Haggerty recently stressed their commitment to finding a resolution to Peng Shuai's sexual harassment allegations against former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.
However, Haggerty stressed that unlike the Women's Tennis Association (WTA), the ITF could not cancel all tournaments in China because they are the sport's governing body worldwide. As such, the organization is responsible for grassroots development.
"We don't want to punish a billion people, so we will continue to run our junior events in the country and our senior events that are there for the time being," he said via CNN.
David Haggerty says ITF is committed to finding resolution
Haggerty added that the ITF would continue to analyze the situation but stressed that growing grassroots and making tennis available is equally important. Haggerty said that they would continue their efforts in accordance with the Chinese Tennis Association, according to the BBC.
Despite their decision not to cancel all tournaments in China, the ITF has been saying that Peng's wellbeing is their primary concern. They have also urged those involved to address the athlete's allegations against Gaoli.
Fears for Peng Shuai's safety linger
Last month, Peng appeared in two private video calls to confirm that she was alive and well after making shocking allegations against Zhang. However, WTA chairman and CEO Steve Simon said that these appearances were not enough to confirm that the athlete is not subjected to coercion, censorship, and intimidation.
On Thursday, a WTA spokesperson also confirmed the receipt of a new email from Peng, the third email she sent ever since the scandal made headlines.
The spokesperson said that Penf was surprised with the WTA's decision to suspend all tournaments in China while investigations are still taking place. The athlete also reportedly thinks that this decision is unfair.
Peng announced that she would be taking a break from tennis while getting some rest back home in Beijing. On Twitter, several athletes came to show their support for Peng, and they also expressed concerns as to whether the tennis superstar is alive and well.
Serena Williams previously said that she's devastated and shocked to hear the news of her fellow tennis athlete. Williams also said that she hopes Shuai is safe and found as soon as possible.
China known for censoring high-profile individuals
According to VOX, concerns regarding Shuai's safety aren't surprising because a slew of people has also disappeared from China before. Fan Bingbing was reportedly held under house arrest for four months on tax evasion charges. Billionaire Zhao Wei and Jack Ma, one of China's richest men, also disappeared in the past.
As for Shuai, there are claims that she is being censored because her recent allegations contradict the Communist Party's official narrative of harmonious relations between people and the Party.
The Communist Party also claims that women experience gender equality under this government. But Peng recently proved that this isn't the case. Zhang has not released a statement to either deny or confirm the athlete's claims as press writing.