Beauty queens from more than 110 nations are set to take part in the final rounds of the 65th annual Miss World contest — except for one particular contestant, whose advocacy for human rights and religious background has all but ensured she will not be able to participate in the international beauty pageant.
As outrageous as it sounds, the reason behind this is rather straightforward: The competition is being held in China — a country that silences those who raise voice against the atrocities it commits, all the while yearning to be a respected world power.
Taiwan-born, Canada-raised Anastasia Lin has always been a vocal critic of Chinese religious policies and the human rights abuses in the communist country.
The 25-year-old actress, model and classically trained pianist was crowned Miss Canada in May, and was due to travel to the southern Chinese island of Hainan this week for the international contest. However, unlike contestants from other countries, Lin did not receive an invitation letter from Chinese authorities to take part in the beauty pageant.
After waiting in vain for weeks, Lin quietly boarded a Hong Kong-bound flight with the hope she might obtain an on-demand visa and slip unnoticed into mainland China. However, authorities stopped her from flying, all but ensuring that she will miss the competition.
I'm in Hong Kong, but the Chinese government has barred me from getting the next flight to Sanya for Miss World. #AfraidOfABeautyQueen— Anastasia Lin (@AnastasiaLinTO) November 26, 2015
“I have every right to be at that event,” she told The New York Times, expressing her anger and disappointment at the Chinese authorities. “It’s kind of sad. I mean, I’m just an acting student and a beauty queen. What could they possibly be so afraid of?”
She believes her outspoken advocacy for human rights and religious freedom in China has led to her being left out. Moreover, she also practices Falun Gong — the Buddhism-inspired spiritual movement that China has deemed an “evil cult,” and whose practitioners face arrest, harassment and torture.
“I was never given an explanation as to why I did not receive the letter,” the beauty queen said in a statement on Facebook. “Under Chinese law, however, Canadian citizens are eligible to obtain a landing visa upon arrival in Sanya, so I decided to try attending anyway.”
Even though China has declared her persona non grata, the 25-year-old is still in Hong-Kong, trying to figure out her next step.
“If they start to censor beauty pageants — how pathetic is that?” Lin said in a recent interview in Toronto. “If I don’t speak out for what’s right, it will send out a terrible message to those who experience China’s fear and intimidation and don’t have the ability to fight back.”
The Miss World contestant also claims that Chinese security agents are threatening her father, who still resides in China.
Meanwhile, Miss World Organization has stated that it had no information as to why a visa was not granted to Lin. However, they are considering letting her hold on to her title as Miss World Canada for another year to let her compete again in 2016.