‘We will not stop’ – Political campaigner reveals Peng Shuai protests will continue at further Grand Slams
Pro-democracy campaigner Max Mok has revealed protests regarding the safety of Peng Shuai will continue at all other Grand Slams until a resolution is found.
Back in November, the world was alarmed when former French Open and Wimbledon doubles victor Peng Shuai publicly disappeared for three weeks after she accused former Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli of coercing her into a sexual relationship.
After multiple attempts to reassure the world of her well-being and autonomy, none of these measures satisfied the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) chief executive Steve Simon’s demands for a “full, fair and transparent investigation.”
As a result, Simon made the decision to withdraw all WTA tournaments from China, including the prestigious WTA Finals which were set to be held in Shenzhen.
Last month, a pro-Beijing news outlet showed Peng retracting her allegations and saying there had been some “misunderstandings.”
Moreover, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) remain the only Western organisation to have established video contact with Peng and are set to hold an in-person meeting with her next week.
During the second week of the Australian Open, banners and T-shirts which read “where is Peng Shuai?” were worn and displayed across Melbourne Park.
The protest group responsible for the shirts and banners had raised more than $21,000 which allowed them to print 1,000 shirts.
The group had been looking to spend the remaining $5,000 on flying a plane over Melbourne Park with the same message, however every company they approached refused.
The leftover money will likely be donated to a sexual violence prevention charity instead.
Such methods of protest were initially banned from the Australian Open. This move received heavy backlash, most notably from 18-time Grand Slam ace Martina Navratilova who slammed the ban as “pathetic and cowardly.”
As such, tournament director Craig Tiley announced the protests would be permitted so long as they are “peaceful.”
Hong Kong pro-democracy campaigner Max Mok, who is one of the driving figures behind the protests, said “we’ve been posting on Twitter for six months and nothing ever really happens. Suddenly everyone is covering it, so I’m really happy about that.
“Tennis Australian never reached out to me or any of my team members, they just put out statements via the media.
“We’ve just been trying to keep them honest. We will take this to the French Open, Wimbledon, the US Open. We will not stop,” Mok exclaimed.
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