Human Rights Advocacy Costs a Canadian a Shot at Miss World

27 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Actress crowned Miss World Canada barred from entering China after human rights criticisms.

The Canadian contestant of an international beauty pageant claims she has been denied entry to China for her public position against human rights abuses in the country.

Anastasia Lin, Canada’s Miss World contestant who was intercepted by Chinese visa officials on her way to participate in the championship pageant, said in an interview today that as the Canadian representative in a world event, it was her right to take part in the competition, already under way in Sanya. “It’s like being an Olympic athlete, and you train so hard for something like this,” she told The Globe and Mail from Hong Kong. “I came not trying to provoke anyone — I sincerely just wanted to participate in that fricking pageant.” Sounding ragged from a long and emotional ordeal, which included a clandestine flight from Toronto, a 12-hour layover on the island and being deemed non grata, or unwelcome, by her former country, Ms. Anastasia Lin, 25, is an outspoken critic of Chinese religious policy and a follower of Falun Gong, a spiritual and meditative practice outlawed by China’s ruling Communist Party in 1999. Chinese-born Anastacia Lin had travelled to Hong Kong but was prevented from boarding a connecting flight to Sanya in the southern Chinese island of Hainan, friend Caylan Ford told Associated Press.

They are trying to punish me for my beliefs and prevent me from speaking out about human rights issues.” She said in her statement that many others have had similar experiences over several years, as “the Chinese government has used the threat of visa denials to punish dissidents or anyone with unapproved views, and to bring academics and journalists to heel.” “I was never given an explanation as to why I did not receive the letter. Under Chinese law, however, Canadian citizens are eligible to obtain a landing visa upon arrival in Sanya, so I decided to try attending anyway.” In her press release, Lin continues: “The slogan of the Miss World competition is ‘Beauty with a purpose.’ My purpose is to advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves — those who suffer in prisons and labour camps, or whose voices have been stifled by repression and censorship.

During her campaign, the 25-year-old Torontonian has been a vocal critic of China’s human-rights record, and it was doubtful whether the country would extend a visa to Ms. When I was a child growing up in China, my job as a student council president involved enforcing ideological purity among my classmates, organizing them to watch Communist propaganda. It was only after I moved to Canada that I discovered what it meant to think freely, to use my own mind, and to live without fear of arbitrary punishment or reprisal.” “I also learned about the severe persecution that people in China face for following these values.

I simply do not understand why some people pay special attention to this matter and have raised it repeatedly.” Falun Gong was outlawed in China in 1999 and human rights groups say tens of thousands of its members have been detained. She and a Chinese visa official had a phone conversation at around 4 p.m. local time today in which the official confirmed her identity and told that she was not eligible to enter China.

The University of Toronto graduate and actress took loud and direct aim at the host country’s politics, and many contest-watchers and Sino-watchers believed a visa from Beijing was a long shot. Lin’s campaign has reached symbolic heights, and become a bellwether of how Ottawa approaches China and addresses the rights of Canadians to speak their minds about their former countries.

Lin has said that on account of her advocacy for political and spiritual tolerance in Communist China, police back home have harassed her family there, a harrowing plight echoed by many outspoken expats on Canadian soil.

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