(New York, NY) — Today Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) chairman Steve Simon threatened to pull business from China if tennis star Peng Shuai is not fully accounted for and her allegations are not properly investigated. PEN America lauded this brave stand for human rights.

“We applaud the WTA for its principled stand in defense of the right of Peng Shuai—and all Chinese citizens—to speak freely without facing retaliation from their government,” said PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel. “It is unfortunately all too rare to see institutions with significant financial stakes in the China market to stand up to censorship by the Chinese Communist Party. All institutions that operate in societies that uphold free speech have a stake in the liberties that make possible open discourse, and the democratic decision-making, economic, and social progress that they enable. We hope Steve Simon and the Women’s Tennis Association set an example that others follow in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics and beyond; the integrity of these institutions and of free speech protections worldwide is at stake. We also call on Chinese officials to immediately remove any and all constraints on Peng Shuai and to guarantee her safety and freedoms.”