The Australian Open made a U-turn on the stance of “Where is Peng Shuai?” A T-shirt that was embarrassed to reconsider its policy by public opinion and criticism from Martina Navratilova and social media.
I think it’s really, really timid. I think they are wrong about this. This is not a political statement, but a statement about human rights. [Tennis Australia is] Just really surrendering to this problem … letting the Chinese really tell what they do in their own slums. I think it’s really weak. Martina Navratilova
The organizers were badly criticized after the woman wearing “Where is Peng Shuai?” The T-shirt was ejected from Melbourne Park last week.
According to Navratilova, the AO organizer has a shirt with a message in support of a Chinese double sprayer who disappeared from public in November after alleging abuse on social media about senior Chinese officials. By preventing fans from wearing it, he acted “cowardly”.
Peng’s well-being became a concern among the world’s tennis world when former Chinese deputy prime minister Zhang Gaoli claimed to have sexually assaulted her, after which she was not seen for nearly three weeks.
Last month she said no one had accused her of sexually assaulting and that the long social media posts she created were misunderstood.
The WTA has suspended the tournament in China due to concerns about Peng’s safety.
After a video footage of security guards and police instructing fans to take off their T-shirts on Saturday, Tennis Australia defended its stance by saying that the tournament would not allow political statements.
“The ticket entry requirements do not allow commercial or political clothing, banners or signs,” TA said in a statement.
© Hector Vivas / WTA Getty Images
TA’s position disappointed Navratilova, the 18th Grand Slam winner. Navratilova said he “surrendered” to China and prioritized sponsorship over human rights issues.
“I think it’s really, really timid,” she said on a US-based tennis channel. “I think they are wrong about this. This is not a political statement, but a statement about human rights.
“”[Tennis Australia is] Just really surrendering to this problem … letting the Chinese really tell what they do in their own slums. I think it’s really weak. “
French player Nicolas Mahut also blamed TA’s reaction and tweeted. What if you don’t have a Chinese sponsor? “
One of the main sponsors of the Australian Open is the state-owned Chinese alcohol distillery, Old Ya Tangzhou, and Melbourne Park’s fifth main showcourt is named 1573 Arena after the company’s Guojiao 1573 brand. increase.
This is reportedly part of a five-year transaction estimated to be worth at least £ 40m.
On Monday, Australian Peng Shuai supporters said they were planning to give out 1,000 “Where is Peng Shuai?” At this week’s Melbourne Park after raising over $ 10,000 on the GoFundMe page. T-shirt.
Activist Max Moku told ABC Radio in Australia, “You can see how many match participants they can stop.”
TA CEO and AO Tournament Director Craig Tiley told PA news agency that the problem wasn’t T-shirts, but intended to confuse the tournament.
“We embarked on a journey in the first stages of the WTA because of our close ties in the region. We agree with the WTA’s position.
“I was skeptical about the person’s motives for coming to the scene, but since then I have contacted him and told her that she is welcome to come to the scene. She wears a T-shirt. We welcome you, but you cannot bring a banner. You cannot bring a banner to your site.
“It has nothing to do with political or commercial statements.
“Our security personnel are trained to take a common-sense approach. I think it will benefit everyone.”
Upon entering Melbourne Park on Tuesday, a fan wearing a Peng Shuai T-shirt was filmed.
© Quinn Rooney / Getty Images
– Tennis Sports
Australian Open makes a U-turn on the Peng T-shirt
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