It’s rare for individuals to put the interests of others above making tens—or even hundreds—of thousands of dollars. It’s even rarer for multinational corporations and international organizations to give up hundreds of millions (or more). For the first time in recent memory, someone showed some backbone in this area by standing up to China.
I’m speaking of Steve Simon, head of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA). As you may recall, Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai leveled charges of sexual assault against a Communist Party official (she retracted them this past week—almost surely under duress). Soon after, her social media posts disappeared, and so did she—save for a video call with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). While the IOC carried China’s water, Simon, who harbored “serious doubts that she is free, safe and not subject to censorship, coercion and intimidation,” and the WTA suspended its tournaments in China and Hong Kong indefinitely. This was no small thing. According to The Guardian, “The price is significant. It has the potential to cost the WTA what is estimated to be more than $1bn in revenue. It also effectively upends years of investment in building relationships in the Asia-Pacific.”