The Miss World 2015 pageant is already under way in the seaside resort of Sanya on the southern island province of Hainan, China, but one contestant has been declared persona non grata by the Chinese government. Canada’s reigning beauty queen and Miss World candidate, Anastasia Lin, has been barred from entering the country and thus is unable to enter the 2015 pageant.
Anastassia Lin, a 25-year-old actress and University of Toronto graduate, is of Chinese descent and a very vocal critic of the country. Crowned Miss World Canada in May, Lin has been quite outspoken about Chinese political repression from before her coronation and continued after as well. She is also a practitioner of Falun Gong – which is a spiritual, meditative group that is outlawed and heavily persecuted in China. Ever since she won the question of whether or not the Chinese government would grant Lin a visa or bar her has been of great concern, and now they have unequivocally answered with a resounding denial.
Canadian news outlet, the Globe and Mail, contacted the Chinese embassy in Ottawa in an attempt to learn why Anastassia Lin was not being granted a visa and was told by a spokesman in an email that “China does not allow any persona non grata to come to China.” They did not mention Ms. Lin by name.
In a statement released by her friend, Caylan Ford, Anastassia Lin spoke of he Chinese decision.
“The Chinese government has barred me from the competition for political reasons. They are trying to punish me for my beliefs and prevent me from speaking out about human rights issues.”
The contestant was already halfway to her destination since under Chinese law, Canadian citizens can obtain a landing visa upon arrival in Sanya. Unlike all other contestants in the pageant, Lin had not received a letter from the embassy inviting her to compete in China, so she took a chance and flew to Hong Kong in hopes she would not be barred. The competition began on November 20, but it was only on Tuesday that the Canadian Miss World contestant was officially barred from entering China.
The Miss World contestant came to Canada with her mother at age 13, and still has family living in China. It was learned that following her vocal protestations against the Chinese government’s treatment of its citizens, having testified at a U.S. congressional hearing in July about religious persecution in Communist China, there was an attempt to intimidate her family in China. It is something that many outspoken expats in Canada have had to deal with — pressure being applied to family and friends who remain in China.
The Guardian reported that Lin had even been asked by her father to stop her human rights campaign. He has had business deals fall through because of her public activities, and fears reprisal from the government, as well. However, the beauty with a purpose posted to Facebook that after coming to Canada and learning what it is like to think for herself, she will always advocate for others to have the option to do the same.
“When I was a child growing up in China, my job as a student council president involved enforcing ideological purity among my classmates, organising 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.”
Anastassia Lin, the Canadian Miss World 2015 contestant says that the reason why she kept pushing forward even after not receiving an invitation from China to participate is because she owed it to those without a voice to at least try. She went on to say that China barring her entry was unbecoming of a “superpower” that plays host to so many international contestants.
Lin believes that for China to stoop so low as to ban a beauty queen from the country because she does not believe in their practices is truly pathetic.
[Photo By AP]