Miss Canada says China is blocking her from Miss World
Anastasia Lin alleges Beijing is delaying her visa for pageant for views on Falun Gong
Miss Canada Anastasia Lin. Photograph: Miss World Canada
The Chinese-born Miss Canada, Anastasia Lin, has said that she believes that China is delaying her visa for the Miss World pageant on its southern island of Hainan because of her outspoken views on human rights.
A follower of Falun Gong, the spiritual movement which is banned in China, Ms Lin said officials have yet to send her an invitation for Miss World, the world’s oldest international beauty pageant.
“As a Canadian citizen I shouldn’t be afraid to speak my mind [and] by rejecting my candidacy, it’s sort of rejecting a whole country’s values,” Ms Lin, a 25-year-old actor, told the National Post newspaper.
Although Miss World has lost much of its popularity in Europe, it remains popular in China.
The Miss World pageant takes place on December 19th at a custom-built, 7,000-room resort called Beauty Crown Hotel in Sanya, a city on Hainan.
China has hosted five Miss Worlds in recent years, the first one in 2003, which was won by Miss Ireland, Rosanna Davison.
In a video campaign aimed at helping secure her the people’s vote in the Miss Canada pageant, Ms Lin speaks of her desire for freedom.
The video includes scenes from Falun Gong-sponsored movies about the oppression of the movement’s membership in China.
Falun Gong is a mixture of spiritual exercises, meditation and tai chi, and its ranks swelled during the 1990s.
The Chinese government labelled the movement a “dangerous cult” and banned it, with a major crackdown on adherents in 1999.
Falun Gong groups say thousands have died in camps across the country and accuse China of harvesting their organs.
Its members hold running vigils outside Chinese embassies all over the world to protest against their treatment by the Chinese government.
The movement’s name is barely uttered in China anymore, and it is very difficult to imagine an outspoken practitioner being allowed a public forum in the country.
Ms Lin came to Canada when she was 13.
“I feel so privileged to be a Canadian, and to enjoy the freedoms that so many are deprived of in other parts of the world,” she says in the video.
She was crowned Miss World Canada in May, and afterwards said that her father, who still lives in China, was being intimidated by Chinese security officials at his home in Hunan.
After meeting with the Chinese police, her father had urged her to stop her advocacy, Ms Lin said.
She said she had yet to receive an official invitation letter to apply for her visa from the foreign affairs office in the city of Sanya, something her fellow contestants had already received.