Activists plan to distribute “Where is Peng Shuai?” Australian Open Jerseys
Activist Drew Pavlou hopes to raise enough money to print 1,000 shirts asking the question “Where is Peng Shuai?” with the intention of distributing them free of charge to the Australian Open 2022 Women’s Singles Final. Concerns about Penga tennis player representing China, remains has disappeared from the public eye last fall after accusing a former government official of sexual assault only to reappear nearly three weeks later and deny making the allegations. The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has vehemently expressed skepticism about Peng’s well-being, saying she appeared to have been pressured to withdraw her claims.
Pavlou, candidate for the Australian Senate, launched its GoFundMewhich has nearly achieved its goal, in response to Melbourne Park police and security telling two other activists to take off their shirts last week – see a video of this incident here. Officials said the shirts and a corresponding banner breached Tennis Australia’s rules against “political slogans”.
After much online turmoil, Tennis Australia manager Craig Tiley, says “The Sydney Morning Herald” on January 25, the jerseys supporting the Chinese player will be will be allowed at the Australian Open, but not banners. Max Mok, one of the two spectators faced for the shirts, told the outlet that Tennis Australia’s upset was “purely due to the media coverage we received around the world and in Australia”.
Artist Xiao, who designed the original “Where’s Peng Shuai?” shirt, said in a New York Times Interview they did not want Novak Djokovic’s visa status saga to overshadow what many believe to be Peng’s continued lack of security. Xiao was the other person encountered in the aforementioned video by the police. They tell POPSUGAR that they are not currently taking interviews. They note, however, that they are not involved in the GoFundMe efforts and that the GoFundMe shirts are based on their initial design.
pavlu told Al Jazeera this week, “Hopefully people in China, mainland China, will see thousands of people wearing these Peng Shuai t-shirts in the Australian Open Grand Final, and they will know that she is still not in security. They will know that people all over the world always speak up for Peng Shuai.” He then called Tennis Australia’s policy reversal a “victory for people power”.
Some have accused Pavlou of using these fundraising efforts for political purposes. “Our campaign for Peng Shuai is all about speaking up for a missing person who has been a victim of sexual violence, and every last dollar we’ve raised through GoFundMe has gone towards raising awareness for Peng Shuai,” he said. at POPSUGAR. “It’s strictly separate from any election campaign because it’s about speaking on behalf of a human being in need.”
“This campaign has helped put Peng Shuai back in the headlines for the first time in months, and millions of people around the world are now hearing his story for the first time…”
Pavlou continues, “This campaign has helped put Peng Shuai back in the headlines for the first time in months, and millions of people around the world are now hearing about his story for the first time, so let people find out why. comes to mind to criticize us. [T]Making sure Peng Shuai is in the news is fundamental, which is exactly what the Chinese government doesn’t want.”
If viewers wish to wear their “Where is Peng Shuai?” jerseys to matches after the women’s singles final – such as the men’s final on January 30 – Pavlou says they are more than welcome to do so. “We want a sea of shirts in this stadium to show the world that Australians will stand up to the Chinese government’s attempts to censor talk, and we will stand up for innocent human beings in need like Peng Shuai,” he said. Pavlou calls it a “large-scale movement of thousands and thousands” and is confident that he and his fellow activists will be able to distribute all the shirts they plan to print because of the public support they have received. The shirts, he notes, will be ready this Friday.
The WTA announced in December that he was suspending all WTA tournaments in China until the organization received more clarity on Peng and how the Chinese government handled his allegations. Washington Post reports the International Olympic Committee said it spoke with Peng just last week and plans to meet her at the Beijing Olympics next month.