Australian Open ejects Peng Shuai protesters

Society & Culture

The Australian Open has come under fire after protesters were ejected after refusing to remove “Where is Peng Shuai?” t-shirts.

In a video posted to Twitter by Australian activist Drew Pavlou, he and Max Mok, a Hong Kong pro-democracy campaigner, had a “Where is Peng Shuai?” banner confiscated and was asked by a steward to remove their t-shirts that also had the same slogan.

After Mok queried the reason for the confiscation, the police were called, who confirmed that the pair were in breach of Tennis Australia’s policy banning political statements.

Tennis Australia later confirmed the policy. “Under our ticket conditions of entry, we don’t allow clothing, banners or signs that are commercial or political,” TA said in a statement.

However, TA did go on to reiterate that “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 wellbeing.”

Following the post, TA was hit with criticism from fans and players for the policy to remove the pair. Martina Navratilova described the decision as “pathetic.”

 

Nicolas Mahut, fresh from his first-round exit at the tournament, also criticized the decision, questioning the influence of the big-money Chinese sponsors.

In the meantime, the activists have set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to print and hand out t-shirts to Australian Open spectators. The page has currently raised more than AUD$10,000 (45,000 yuan).

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Winter Olympics tickets will not be available to the public

Tickets will not be sold to spectators for the upcoming Beijing Olympics. As we suspected, the announcement was made on the long-awaited ticket policy at the start of the last week, with only two weeks until the opening ceremony.

Until this month, tickets had been expected to be sold to mainland Chinese residents, and maybe even foreigners based inside the country. However, the decision has been made to distribute tickets only to select groups and organizations.

“Given the current grave and complicated situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure the safety of all participants and spectators, it was decided that tickets should not be sold anymore but be part of an adapted program that will invite groups of spectators to be present on-site during the Games,” read a statement from the organizers.

“The organizers expect that these spectators will strictly abide by the COVID-19 countermeasures before, during and after each event as pre-conditions for the safe and sound delivery of the Games.”

Sources within Beijing 2022 have revealed that the tickets are expected to be distributed to “politically safe” members of the populace, including party members, government employees, and schoolchildren.

Tickets will also be distributed to various business organizations, such as various national trade and commerce councils, as well as to international sponsors, with the organizers keen to get a few foreign faces in the crowd.

The vast majority of spectators will be chosen from Beijing and Hebei.

Spectators attending the Games will also have to turn in a number of negative COVID tests in the days leading up to their date of attendance.

The addition of Omicron onto the scene has caused authorities to conduct mass testing across the capital after a handful of cases were found.

While the number of cases may have risen outside the bubble, Olympics organizers reported yesterday that none of the athletes who arrived early for the Games tested positive.

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Other Stories:

Sonny Weems subjected to racist abuse from CBA fans (CNN)

Athletes warned about speaking out against China at Winter Olympics (The Guardian)

On a frozen pond far from the Olympics, meet China’s ice hockey veterans (Reuters)

Full rehearsal held for Opening Ceremony of Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics (Inside the Games)

Eileen Gu, China’s celebrity skier going for gold (SCMP)

Sport is indifferent to the Uyghur genocide: the Warriors investor said the quiet part out loud (The Guardian)


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