Video: 'Where is Peng Shuai?' T-shirts forcibly taken off fans at Australian Open

A viral video shows several fans being ordered to remove their T-shirts in a public area and a banner with the words 'Where is Peng Shuai?'


                            Video: 'Where is Peng Shuai?' T-shirts forcibly taken off fans at Australian Open
Peng Shuai's T-shirt was forced off a fan at the Australian Open (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images & @DrewPavlou/Twitter)
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Several fans were ordered to remove t-shirts and a banner with the words "Where is Peng Shuai?" at the Australian Open.  A recent video circulating on social media platforms shows how security and police personnel at the Australian Open allegedly targetted tennis fans who were wearing T-shirts with the message "Where is Peng Shuai?" and carrying a banner with the same slogan. After being told that their banner and tees were not permitted, they were asked to take off their T-shirts, which featured a picture of Peng Shuai on the front and the words "Where is Peng Shuai?" on the back.

The video was posted online by Drew Pavlou, an activist from Brisbane. In the video, the tournament organizers were seen removing the banner and forcing supporters to remove the T-shirts that were deemed "political" in nature. The police officer can be heard saying in the video, “I’m not saying you can’t have those views, but Tennis Australia sets the rules here. The Australian Open does have a rule that there can't be any political slogans. It's a rule that it's a condition of entry."

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Tennis Australia responded to ESPN regarding the incident that banners, t-shirts, or messages of a political nature are not allowed under their ticketing rules. The tennis governing body also stressed that Shuai's safety is their primary concern. A Tennis Australia representative stated, “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 and global tennis community to seek more clarity on her situation and will do everything we can to ensure her wellbeing," 

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Peng Shuai, a Chinese tennis player, had been missing for days after accusing former Chinese vice-premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault in a social media post. The message was removed shortly after it was published, but it quickly became viral. Shuai vanished and there was concern in the larger tennis fraternity since no one was able to contact her or talk to her. She reappeared in December, and in an interview, she denied any sexual assault charges. However, the tennis star is yet to return to play on the court and has avoided making too many public appearances since she recanted. Shuai's well-being has been a source of concern for several top tennis players at the current Australian Open 2022.

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Naomi Osaka and Nick Kygrios, both tennis superstars, have expressed their concern about Peng Shuai's absence during the Australian Open. During the current Australian Open, Australian world no.1 Ash Barty was asked about Shuai. "We're all hoping she's doing well. We all hope that she’s well. We hope that she’s doing OK. Hopefully, it’s not too long until we see her back out here,"  she reportedly remarked.

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