Clashes with China turn Miss World Canada into reluctant activist, Falun Gong …

28 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Canada’s Miss World contestant barred from boarding flight to finals in China, believes it’s punishment for calling out country’s human rights abuses.

VANCOUVER — Miss World Canada, Anastasia Lin, is on the phone from Hong Kong, where she is making headlines — and causing headaches for the Chinese government. Canada’s China-born Miss World contestant was stopped in Hong Kong on Thursday and denied permission to board a flight to the beauty pageant finals in China, a move she said was punishment for speaking out against human rights abuses in the country. The 25-year-old Toronto resident was scheduled to compete in the “Miss World” pageant that began this week in Sanya, a resort city on Hainan Island, in southern China.

Lin, who is a practitioner of Falun Gong, a religious group that says it is repressed in China, told reporters at Hong Kong’s international airport that she was prevented from boarding a Dragonair flight to Sanya. She said there has been no response from the Chinese authorities so far. “There’s no comment from the Chinese embassy … so I realize that’s the tactics they’re using, they just want to let it die down,” said Lin, who was wheeling a silver suitcase and dressed in a long brown trench coat. In her testimony, she said she wanted to “speak for those in China that are beaten, burned and electrocuted for holding to their beliefs,” according to the text of her statement on the Congressional-Executive Commission on China’s website. “China does not allow any persona non grata to come to China,” Yundong Yang, an embassy spokesman, told the Globe and Mail. “I simply do not understand why some people pay special attention to this matter and have raised it repeatedly.” Miss World pageant organizers said in an email they had no information as to why a visa was not granted to Lin, but said she may be offered a place in the 2016 Miss World contest. She has become, somewhat reluctantly, Falun Gong’s most captivating spokesperson, more recognizable these days than even its founder and “master,” the mysterious, seldom-seen Li Hongzhi. Some irony: As a young student in mainland China, Lin helped persecute Falun Gong. “I was in charge of (anti-Falun Gong) propaganda at school,” she says. “I sat students down to watch (Chinese television) smear campaigns.” As an adult, she spoke little about her own Falun Gong practice until she started reading more about the movement’s persecution in China, where practitioners are harassed and jailed, and, allegedly, even killed for their organs.

In August, the Guardian newspaper published a glowing profile of Lin, describing her as “a vocal human rights activist with prominent cheekbones.” She wasn’t too thrilled with that. The cheekbones are prominent, but Lin is intelligent and accomplished, having mastered the ancient art of calligraphy as a five-year-old, for example. The “activist” label also rankled, somewhat. “I don’t really consider myself a human rights activist,” says Lin. “Falun Gong is not my platform.

He has claimed to have supernatural powers; that aliens walk among humans on Earth; that half-fish, half-human creatures live in the oceans; that the “gods” cannot tolerate homosexuals, who are due for “annihilation.” Like a lot Falun Gong adherents, Lin chooses not to dwell on such stuff. She would rather focus on Chinese communists, and their decision to refuse her entry to the country of her birth, keeping her from something as mundane and unthreatening as a beauty contest.

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