Tennis Australia, hosts of the Australian Open, have found themselves embroiled in yet another scandal.
After the Federal Government deported the defending champion for what amounts to ‘wrongthink’ – security at the Australian Open asked one spectator to remove a T-shirt that said, ‘Where is Peng Shuai?’
Security and police converged on the woman which can be seen in footage posted on Twitter by Drew Pavlou. The incident sparked outrage, with Tennis Australia accused of protecting the interests of the Chinese Communist Party.
The items were confiscated because they were ‘too political’. The banner was confiscated first, with the shirt being confiscated later in the conversation.
“What do you suggest she wears?” Later, the question is asked: “Can you tell us who complained about ‘free Peng Shaui’?”
To which the Tennis Australia security person replies, “There are cameras everywhere, okay.”
Peng Shuai is the women’s tennis star that ‘disappeared’ after she made allegations of sexual assault against a former senior member of the CCP. As news of her disappearance spread around the world, Peng Shuai reappeared in footage likened to a ‘hostage video’. It is widely acknowledged that international pressure and continuing visibility of the incident is keeping Peng Shuai safe. Human rights activists are extremely concerned about her situation.
Tennis Australia continues to stand by their decision, with a spokesperson explaining that, “Under our ticket conditions of entry, we don’t allow clothing, banners, or signs that are commercial or political. 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.”
In contrast, the WTA will not host any tournaments in China during the 2022 season. CEO Steve Simon said that the WTA were putting ‘principles ahead of profit’ with the WTA set to lose a sizeable portion of their profits by shunning China.
A GoFundMe has been set up to hand out Peng Shaui shirts at the Australian Open that has received nearly $11,000.