Billie Jean King backs WTA's decision to suspend tournaments in China amid Peng Shuai concerns

Following the decision by the WTA to suspend all tournaments in China due to concerns over the safety of Chinese player Peng Shuai, WTA founder Billie Jean King has backed the organization for taking a stand on defending human rights.

WTA CEO Steve Simon made the announcement on Wednesday, citing concerns over Shuai's safety after the former doubles World No.1 disappeared for nearly three weeks following allegations of sexual assault against a retired Chinese Vice Premier.

"I applaud Steve Simon and the WTA leadership for taking a strong stand on defending human rights in China and around the world," said Ms King, a 12-time grand slam winner and pioneer for women's sport.

"The WTA has chosen to be on the right side of history in defending the rights of our players. This is yet another reason why women's tennis is the leader in women's sports."

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin addressed local media on Thursday, but refused to comment about the WTA's suspension and concerns about Ms Peng's safety.

"We are always firmly opposed to acts that politicize sports," he said in a one-sentence response to journalists at a daily ministry briefing.

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