Miss World Contestant Critical of China’s Religious Policy Is Denied Entry to …

26 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Miss World Canada ‘barred from entering China’ for pageant.

HONG KONG (AP) — Canada’s outspoken Miss World contestant said she was barred Thursday from entering China to take part in this year’s pageant and accused Beijing of overreach in extending its campaign of censorship even to beauty contests. She released a prepared statement on Thursday morning after she wasn’t allowed to board a plane from Hong Kong to Sanya, China, host city of the 2015 Miss World competition. “The Chinese government has barred me from the competition for political reasons. Anastasia Lin, a 25-year-old Toronto actress who was crowned Miss World Canada in May, was unable to obtain a visa in advance of her arrival for the contest finals this week in Sanya, on the southern Chinese resort island of Hainan. Lin is an outspoken critic of Chinese religious policy and a follower of the Falun Gong meditation practice, which was outlawed by China’s ruling Communist Party in 1999.

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. Dressed in black leggings and a belted tan trench coat, Lin was approached by several fellow travelers in the Hong Kong airport arrival hall who wanted to take her photo.

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. The University of Toronto graduate has been vocal about Chinese political repression both before and following her ‘coronation’ in Vancouver in May. The 25-year-old actress also plays an imprisoned Falun Gong practitioner in an upcoming Canadian movie, “The Bleeding Edge.” Lin said that after she won the Canadian title, Chinese security agents visited her father who still lives in China in an apparent attempt to intimidate her into silence. 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. She has previously aired concerns that her rising public profile had seen her targeted for speaking out, and that the Chinese have sought to prevent her competing in the beauty pageant final, being held in Sanya city on Hainan island.

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. After landing in Hong Kong early Thursday on a flight from Toronto, Lin was told by airline staff at check-in that she needed to speak to an official in Hainan’s provincial capital of Sanya.

He did not elaborate. “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. Hundreds of thousands of peaceful and law-abiding people have been imprisoned and tortured, and many have died or disappeared in custody after they refused to renounce their beliefs and swear allegiance to the Communist Party.” After telling her she wasn’t eligible for a visa, the man refused to give a reason then abruptly hung up the phone, she said. “To prevent me from even stepping into Chinese territory, I think this is what they’re trying to do. I really don’t see where this insecurity comes from,” Lin told The Associated Press. “I think that’s the real harm when people watch this and learn a negative lesson.

As the Canadian representative to Miss World, I have every right to be there and take my place among the contestants and share my message.” In her Facebook post, Lin said barring her entry was not conduct befitting a “superpower”, especially one that hosts international competition such as Miss World and hoped to host the upcoming Winter Olympics. “Silencing beauty queens, censoring journalists and torturing [those with] religious beliefs is not a sign of strength – it is a sign of profound weakness and insecurity.”

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