There was no way that Canada’s Miss World contestant was going to take home the crown at the beauty pageant finals in China this week.
That’s because Chinese-born Anastasia Lin – who was crowd Miss World Canada in May – was stopped in Hong Kong and denied permission to board a flight to her native country.
As a practitioner of Falun Gong, a religious group that says it is repressed in China, Lin calls the move punishment for being vocal against human rights abuses in the country.
The 25-year-old actress was unable to obtain a visa prior to her arrival for the contest finals this week in Sanya, which is on the southern Chinese resort island of Hainan. She tried to enter the country despite this, based on a rule that allows Canadian citizens to obtain a landing visa upon arrival in Sanya. It didn’t work out for her, however, when she was denied from boarding a Dragonair flight to Sanya for the pageant.
According to Lin, though, the decision is a deliberate response to her vocal opinions about human rights abuses in the communist country. In July, Lin testified at a U.S. congressional hearing on religious persecution, in which 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.
Since then, her father, who remains in China, has allegedly been harassed by Chinese officials.
The Chinese Embassy in Ottawa said that Lin was not welcome in China, according to the Globe and Mail. “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.”
Lin said there has been no response from the Chinese authorities so far.
Though she’ll return home empty-handed, Miss World pageant organizers have said that they had no information as to why Lin was denied a visa, but said she may be offered a place in the 2016 Miss World contest.
And she should be; their motto is “Beauty with Purpose,” after all – and Lin has both.