Australian Open controversially bans 'Where is Peng Shuai' apparel

Australian Open controversially bans ‘Where is Peng Shuai’ apparel

Peng

“Where is Peng Shuai?” 

That was the question branded on the t-shirt of one female spectator at the Australian Open over the weekend, before she was confronted by police and asked to take the item off.

Video footage shared on social media shows a police officer and security personnel telling the woman that “The Australian Open does have a rule that there can’t be any political slogans.” 

“That is a rule that is part of the condition of entry.”

The female spectator was also holding a banner with the same message “Where is Peng Shuai?” which was also confiscated.

Tennis Australia defended its decision in a statement saying that it “…does not allow clothing, banners or signs that are commercial or political” at the Australian Open.

“Under our ticket conditions of entry, we don’t allow clothing, banners or signs that are commercial or political,” the statement read. 

“Peng Shuai’s safety is our primary concern. We continue to work with the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) and global tennis community to seek more clarity on her situation and will do everything we can to ensure her wellbeing.”

Drew Pavlou, a 22-year old Democratic Alliance activist from Queensland immediately set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to print the T-shirts. 

“Wow, in less than 24 hours we have raised almost $6000 to print a thousand “Where Is Peng Shuai” shirts to hand out for free at the Australian Open women’s final,” Pavlou tweeted on Sunday. 

@TennisAustralia good luck keeping your $25 million corporate sponsorship from China.”

“When Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai publicly revealed she had been a victim of past sexual abuse, the Chinese government should have immediately established a full, fair and transparent investigation, without censorship, into her allegations,” the GoFundMe page declared. “Any victim and survivor deserves to be heard and deserves to have justice.”

“Sadly Tennis Australia has not taken such a firm stance in favor of human rights and basic standards of justice. In fact, Tennis Australia called police on human rights activists at the 2022 Australian Open for simply wearing shirts asking the same question Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams and fans the world over have asked: “Where is Peng Shuai?”

As of Monday morning, it had raised more than $10,000. 

Last November, the 36-year old tennis champion disappeared from public after she accused a top Chinese politician of sexual assault.

26th seeded Belarusian tennis player, Victoria Azarenka told reporters at the Australian Open that “there hasn’t been that much development in terms of contact with Peng Shuai even though from our side we will continue to make any and all efforts to make sure that she is safe, she feels comfortable.” 

“Hopefully we will get to hear from her personally at some point. I think that’s the goal, the main goal right now.”

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