Zhao Xue, 8th seed in the tournament with a 2486 rating, will be replaced by another Asian representative: the Kazakhstani Zhansaya Abdumalik (2471).
A former prodigy, Zhao dominated her generation: she won the Gold medal in the girls' U12 World Championship in 1997, the Girls' U14 World Championship, and then she went on to win the World Junior Girls Championship in Goa 2002, surpassing the local star, Humpy Koneru. She was the 24th Chinese person to achieve the GM title, in 2008.
We are very sorry that a player of this caliber will be forced to miss this tournament due to such unfortunate circumstances. We believe Zhansaya is a worthy replacement, and we are hopeful that we will be able to have Zhao Xue playing in one of our top events very soon.
The travel restrictions won't affect the World Champion Ju Wenjun, who left China several weeks ago, before the crisis worsened.