Melbourne — Activists took full advantage of the revocation of the previous ban by handing out hundreds of T-shirts with the question “Where is Peng Shuai?”. The final day of women at the Australian Open on Saturday.
T-shirts that highlighted concerns about Chinese tennis players were confiscated by security guards last weekend, but Tuesday tournament chief Craig Tiley said he would be allowed as long as fans didn’t get in the way.
Australian-born Max Moku, who grew up in Hong Kong, told Reuters when he handed out his shirts.
“I think that’s the limit … we really don’t know where Peng Shuai is yet. There’s still a long way to go.”
Former world’s number one double sprayer, Peng, became a concern in November when former Chinese deputy prime minister Zhang Gaoli claimed on social media that she had been sexually assaulted.
After that post, Peng was absent from public for almost three weeks.
Last month, Peng said no one had accused her of sexually assaulting her and her social media posts were misunderstood.
Mr Zhang did not comment on the matter, accusing the Chinese Foreign Ministry of saying they were trying to politicize the sport when asked about T-shirts.
Chris Lee, who also distributes T-shirts, said Penn has appeared in a controlled situation since her claim, but he is still worried about her welfare.
“It’s not okay to just sit here, it doesn’t do anything,” he told Reuters.
“At the very least, we need to raise awareness of society as a whole about human rights issues in China.”
When Ashleigh Barty became the first homemade singles champion in the Grand Slam since 1978, fans were later seen wearing T-shirts in the crowd at Rod Laver Arena.
Sadie Holland, one of the 20,086 fans at Melbourne Park on Saturday, said he wore a T-shirt to raise awareness.
“We talked to people like the family here today who didn’t know anything about it until we wore these T-shirts,” she said.
“That’s why I basically got it to pay attention to the average Melbourne and Australians.”
Moku said the campaign will not end after the Australian Open.
“The next destinations for this movement are the French Open, Wimbledon, the US Open … this message is everywhere,” he said.
Mr. Zhang’s name is reported by the state-run news agency Xinhua, which listed him as one of more than 100 retired senior leaders who received congratulatory greetings from current Chinese leaders, for the first time since the claim in China on Saturday. Appeared in the media.