HONG KONG: Canada’s China-born Miss World contestant was stopped in Hong Kong on Thursday and denied permission to board a flight to the beauty pageant finals in China. Anastasia Lin, 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, a city on the southern Chinese resort island of Hainan.
She stated it was a punishment she received for speaking out against human rights violations in the country. Lin told reporters at Hong Kong International Airport that she was prevented from boarding the flight and that she has received no response from the Chinese authorities so far.
“There’s no comment from the Chinese embassy. So I realise these are the tactics they’re using,” shared Lin. “It’s very difficult to stand up for what you believe in. I need to figure out what to do next.”
Lin testified at a US congressional hearing on religious persecution in China in July. “I want to speak for those in China who are beaten up, burnt and electrocuted for their beliefs,” the Congressional-Executive Commission on China’s website quoted her as saying.
Lin said this month that her father had been harassed by Chinese officials after she spoke out about human rights violations in the country.
A Canadian newspaper reported on Wednesday that the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa has said that Lin is not welcome in China. “China does not allow any persona non grata inside the country,” Yundong Yang, an embassy spokesperson, told The Globe and Mail. “I simply do not understand why some people have been paying special attention to this matter and have been raising it repeatedly.”
Asked about Lin’s case, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei said he had “no information to provide” about her case.
Miss World pageant organisers said in an email they have 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.