This week, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) canceled all tournaments in China. The move was a protest against the Chinese Communist Party’s censorship of missing tennis star Peng Shuai.
The unprecedented move will likely cost the organization hundreds of millions in revenue. But, it’s also the right move.
Peng Shuai went missing after publicly claiming that she was sexually assaulted by a high-ranking government official. After a flood of international alarm, China finally produced rudimentary evidence of Peng Shuai’s safety. But, it wasn’t enough.
“While we now know where Peng is, I have serious doubts that she is free, safe, and not subject to censorship, coercion, and intimidation,” said WTA chief executive Steve Simon.
The WTA’s courageous response is tragically rare. Former U.S. Ambassador at large Kelly Eckels Currie put it best: “If you had told me a week-and-a-half ago that the Women’s Tennis Association was going to be the most effective and bravest human rights organization in the world, I would have thought you were bananas… but here we are.”