Four activists wearing “Where is Peng Shuai?” T-shirts were stopped by security at Wimbledon yesterday and had their bags searched before being allowed stay at the tournament.

The protesters put the T-shirts on after gaining access.

“We didn’t have these on when we came in because we worried about not being let in,” protester Jason Leith said.

“Security started asking, ‘Are you planning to do any direct protesting? Are you planning on disrupting things?’

“And then they asked, ‘Oh, do you mind coming over here so we can search your bags?’

“So then they started going through our bags. I guess they were looking for flags. They were looking for anything that might be used in any other form of protest.”

Wimbledon organisers said the activists were welcome to stay on site.

Chief executive Sally Bolton said on Day 1 of the tournament that a spectator with a shirt mentioning Peng would be allowed to attend.

“We do have ground entry rules, and those ground entry rules are really focused on everyone’s quiet enjoyment of the tennis,” Bolton said.

“So that’s not about what people are wearing; it’s about the way people behave.”