Tennis Australia snuggles up to Beijing


Over the weekend, police-backed Australian Tennis Open security services reportedly ordered spectators to take off their T-shirts in the image of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai in front of them. Peng Shuai? ” behind.

The 36-year-old won the Doubles Wimbledon Tennis Tournament and the Doubles French Open in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Penn also played in the 2014 US Open semi-final singles.

In November 2021, Peng Shuai accused Zhang Gaoli, the former Deputy Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China, for sexual assault in 2017. The social media post about Weibo was deleted within 30 minutes and she disappeared. It’s an ominous but common event in China.

She then resurfaced in a well-coordinated online chat with Thomas Bach, chairman of the International Olympic Committee, and was seen at a supper with others.

However, these events were almost certainly staged and controlled by her communist handler. Her whereabouts are unknown and her future looks uncertain.

Epoch Times Photo
The sun sets as spectators wait for a men’s singles match on the second day of the Australian Open Tennis Tournament on January 18, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Martin Keep / AFP via Getty Images)

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has since suspended all tennis tournaments in China and Hong Kong, and is seeking unobstructed access to tennis players with the WTA Player Council.

Tennis Australia endorsed its security actions because Open’s “ticket conditions for admission … commercial or political clothing, banners, or signs” are banned. Tennis Australia claims that spectators agree to these terms when purchasing tickets to watch tennis.

However, these terms constitute an adhesive contract, also known as a “boilerplate contract”.

Adhesion contracts are usually valid even if they are drafted by a strong negotiating party, such as Tennis Australia, and are not rejected by the spectators buying the ticket.

But as explained in Graham v.Scissor-Tail, IncIf the conditions are not within the reasonable expectations of the audience, such a contract may be invalidated.

But more importantly, the guard’s order for a female spectator to take off her T-shirt constitutes a terrible breach of the basic right to speak peacefully and freely.

Of course, Tennis Australia can argue that the T-shirt message was afraid to invigorate pro-Beijing protests and cause flaca in tennis tournaments.

Nevertheless, this kind of reasoning is just a guess. And in any case, if a riot occurs, it could be quickly dealt with by open security and police at that time.

Australia has a constitutional right to political communication, which prevents Congress from enacting laws that limit freedom of speech. This constitutional freedom does not apply to Tennis Australia, but it is substantially government-sponsored.

For this reason, Tennis Australia, in particular, is expected to emphasize freedom of speech.

Epoch Times Photo
Police are wary when people attend a rally against COVID-19 vaccination outside the main gate of the Australian Open Tennis Tournament on January 22, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Martin Keep / AFP via Getty Images)

It is useful to note that “political” is a very subjective cognitive issue. It is an empty ship and its meaning must be filled in by policy makers and trendsetters.

Given the controversial deportation of Novak Djokovic, some wonder if a message like “go home, joker” might be considered a political message.

Messages that are blasphemous or suspicious of sexual content may also be allowed. But the adjective “political” certainly refers to the relationship between nations, in this case China and Australia.

The Open was afraid that if the spectators could show off her T-shirt at the tennis arena, it would offend the Beijing administration.

The simple reality is that Tennis Australia has succumbed to China’s brutal communist government in ordering to remove its shirt, thereby damaging its reputation gained over the last decade.

This episode of miscalculated decision-making leads to a more fundamental question: whether to ban political upset from major sporting events.

Historically, politics has always played an important role in sports and has been used as a sword by countries to achieve goals that are not related to the sport in itself.

For example, the United States boycotted the 1980 Olympics in Moscow to protest the invasion of Afghanistan. This boycott was followed by a boycott by the Soviet Union at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.

Next month, the United States, United Kingdom and Australia will not send diplomatic delegations to the Beijing Winter Olympics, even if athletes are free to participate in the Olympics.

This is the result of obvious human rights violations by the Chinese administration, the disappearance of civil rights in Hong Kong, the imprisonment of democratic politicians, China’s aggressive expansion policy in the South China Sea, and many other violations.

Epoch Times Photo
Activists, including members of the local Hong Kong, Tibet and Uighur communities, raised their flags and placards in Melbourne, Australia on June 23, 2021 to boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics over China’s human rights records with the Australian government. I called on you to do it. (William West via Getty Images / AFP)

The use of politics as a sword is endemic to sports, but this is not what it should be.

In an ideal world, politics and sports should live in different worlds, even in times of tension. This is because sports bring people from all nations together to compete in a cheerful environment for the glory of sports.

Sport is a unity, not a division. But we don’t live in an ideal world, and politics and sports are very intertwined.

However, the unfortunate female audience, who merely exercised the right to freedom of speech to protest the disappearance of Peng Shuai, is incomparable to a country that uses political influence to boycott the activities of other countries.

In addition, as the WTA itself acted on the Peng Shuai issue, there are even more reasons to allow and even encourage spectators to express their support for tennis players.

In ordering her to take off her T-shirt, Tennis Australia worked with an evil government that humiliated her and caused people to disappear when it evoked the discomfort of a communist country.

In fact, many T-shirts worn by spectators carry the most bizarre and derogatory messages to attract attention. Tennis Australia is openly on the side of Beijing by focusing on Peng Shuai T-shirts by banning it from the Tennis Arena.

But if there is a place to make this protest, it is certainly on the stage of the Australian Open. It is the most appropriate forum for keeping Peng Shuai’s disappearance in the limelight.

The right to express an opinion on the Peng Shuai issue lies within the reasonable expectations of the audience. The controversy that Tennis Australia is now involved in its own problems.

This is yet another example of non-liberalism that is becoming established in Australia and reveals that it does not try to confront the right thing.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Gabriel Moens


GabriĆ«l A. MoensAM is an emeritus professor at the University of Queensland and vice president and dean of Murdoch University. In 2003, Mornes was awarded the Australian Centennial Medal by the Prime Minister for his service to education. He has taught extensively in Australia, Asia, Europe, and the United States. Moens recently published two novels, “ATwisted Choice” (Boolarong Press, 2020) and “The Coincidence” (Connor Court Publishing, 2021).