Miss World Canada has found herself at the centre of more controversy after stating that she was barred from entering China to attend the upcoming international beauty pageant.
China’s state-linked English language newspaper Global Times accused Anastasia Lin of criticising the Chinese government, after she claimed being prevented from boarding the flight in Hong Kong was “punishment” for speaking out about human rights abuses in the country.
The article accused 25-year-old actress Lin of trying to “gain sympathy from the Western public that already holds prejudices against China.”
After being crowned Miss World Canada in May, Toronto actress Lin hasn’t held back when it comes to voicing her political views. In July, she testified at a U.S. congressional hearing on religious persecution in China. She is a long-time critic of Beijing’s human rights violations, and reportedly practises Falun Gong, a Chinese spiritual discipline inspired by Buddhism and Taoism, which is despised by the communist authorities.
“Lin has to pay a cost for being tangled with hostile forces,” the Global Times article said. “She may not know that all performers should avoid being involved in radical political issues.”
Lin 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. However, she said she tried to enter the country anyway based on a rule that allows Canadian citizens to obtain a landing visa upon arrival in Sanya.
After discovering she was denied permission to enter China, Toronto-born Lin spoke at a news conference at Hong Kong Airport. “Ask the Chinese government why is it afraid to let in a beauty queen,” she said. “Ask them why — what kind of precedent this would set for future international events that it wants to host. Ask them whether they would also bar Olympic athletes from participating in the Winter Olympic Games just because they have different views that the Communist Party doesn’t agree with.”
“There’s no comment from the Chinese embassy… so I realize that’s the tactic they’re using — they just want to let it die down,” she continued. “It’s very difficult to stand up for what you believe in. I need to figure out what to do next.”
“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.”