Chinese golfers pull out of Taiwan event

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Chinese Shanshan Feng in action

Chinese players on the elite US professional women’s golf tour have pulled out of this week’s tournament in Taiwan at the eleventh hour after being told by someone “high up” in China to skip the event, informed sources familiar with the situation.

They said world No. 9 Shanshan Feng and rookie Yu Liu were told during last weekend’s event in Shanghai that they should not play in the Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship, which starts in Taipei on Thursday.

China, which views self-ruled Taiwan as a wayward province, has ramped up pressure to assert its sovereignty. Ties have deteriorated since 2016, when President Tsai Ing-wen of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party came to power in Taiwan.

It is unclear who told Feng and Liu, the only two Chinese golfers confirmed for the event in Taiwan, not to attend, but, barring injury, it is highly unusual for players to withdraw at such a late stage.

“They said I can’t respond regarding the issue of withdrawing from the competition,” Liu said via her official account on the Twitter-like social media platform Weibo, referring to her agents.

Asked why she had pulled out of the tournament, she declined to comment but said it was “not for personal reasons”.

One source at the tournament said officials there had no plans to fine the players for withdrawing so late in the day, “given the circumstances”. — Reuters

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