Why did China block Miss Canada from the Miss World 2015 competition?

The beauty queen, who left China for Canada when she was 13, is an outspoken critic of China and an advocate for human rights there.

Aaron Vincent Elkaim/The Canadian Press/AP
Miss Canada, Anastasia Lin, who was barred from participating in the Miss World competition in China speaks with media in Toronto upon her return home to Canada on Dec. 3, 2015.

It was the typical annual pageant of glitz, beauty, and talent, except there was one person missing from this year’s Miss World competition in Sanya, China: Miss Canada.

That’s because the 25-year-old Anastasia Lin, a Canadian actress born in China, was barred from participating in the two-week romp on the southern tip of the Chinese island Hainan, where 114 beauty queens from around the world competed for the title of the world’s best.

In a Facebook post in late November, Ms. Lin wrote that she was barred from the competition by the Chinese government “for political reasons.”

“They are trying to punish me for my beliefs and prevent me from speaking out about about human rights issues,” she wrote.

Lin, who moved to Canada from China when she was 13, is a practitioner of Falun Gong, a spiritual movement that is banned by the Chinese government, which considers it an “evil cult.

With its roots in Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, Falun Gong was founded in 1992 as a spiritual movement that encourages ritual exercise, like qigong, and meditation to achieve mental and physical health.

By 1999, the movement had attracted 70 million followers, as the International Business Times reports, and was characterized by the Chinese government as a cult.

China, with a constitution that technically permits freedom of religious belief, has banned Falun Gong, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. It says the group’s adherents use religion “as a camouflage, deifying their leading members, recruiting and controlling their members, and deceiving people by molding and spreading superstitious ideas, and endangering society.”  

Lin says that standing up to the persecution of Falun Gong adherents is a mission for her. She has been an outspoken critic of the country’s communist party and a proponent of human rights, having written op-eds and testified in front of the US Congress on the topic.

“Hundreds of thousands of peaceful and law-abiding people have been imprisoned and tortured,” she wrote on Facebook, “and many have died or disappeared in custody after they refused to renounce their beliefs and swear allegiance to the Communist Party.”

“My purpose is to advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves,” Lin wrote.

Though she was eligible to participate in Miss World, having won the title of Miss Canada last May, Lin did not receive an official invitation from China to participate in the 2015 pageant. She decided to go anyway, but was barred by authorities in Hong Kong from flying on to Hainan.

In response to a query about Lin’s banishment by Canada’s Globe and Mail, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Ottawa said in an e-mail statement that “China does not allow any persona non grata to come to China,” though he did not mention Lin specifically.

“Silencing a beauty queen,” wrote Lin, “is not conduct befitting an aspiring superpower – especially one that hopes to host international competitions such as Miss World and the upcoming Winter Olympics.”

The international attention Lin’s case has garnered has somewhat overshadowed a joyous occasion on Saturday for another beauty queen, the 23-year-old Mireia Lalaguna Royo, or Miss Spain. After two weeks of physical, mental, and cosmetological challenges, Lalaguna Royo beat out the rest of the international competitors for the title of Miss World 2015.

Sofia Nikitchuk of Russia was the runner-up, and Indonesia’s Maria Harfanti took third place.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Why did China block Miss Canada from the Miss World 2015 competition?
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today