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Australian Open fans asked to change 'Where is Peng Shuai?' shirts backing China tennis star

The Australian Open bans "political slogans."

January 23, 2022 11:14pm

Updated: January 24, 2022 8:49am

Australian Open spectators were asked this past weekend to change clothes after they wore shirts asking "Where is Peng Shuai?" in support of the tennis star who has rarely been seen publicly since last November when she accused an ex-Chinese Communist Party official of sexual assault.

A TikTok video posted Saturday showed fans stopped by security when they attempted to enter the venue with pro-Peng shirts. "Melbourne or Beijing?" is written across the video.

"The Australian Open does have a rule that you can't have political slogans," an officer tells the fan. "I'm not saying you can't have those views – but I am saying that Tennis Australia sets the rules here."

Tennis Australia is "allowed to confiscate the shirts and the banner," the officer also says.

Peng took to the Chinese social media platform Weibo to say she was assaulted by the government official. She later retracted her statement following her disappearance.

She has since made on public appearance, but supporter says it was staged by the Chinese government.

"Under our ticket conditions of entry we don't allow clothing, banners or signs that are commercial or political," Tennis Australia told ESPN. "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 well-being."

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