The woman who was barred from entering China for the Miss World competition after speaking out against the country's human rights record "has to pay a cost for being tangled with hostile forces against China," a prominent Communist-run newspaper has said.
Anastasia Lin, who is a political activist and current Miss Canada, was stopped from boarding a flight from Hong Kong to the southern island of Sanya, China, to attend the month-long competition.
The Chinese tabloid, Global Times, reported that the "pretty girl" must pay for being outspoken against China, her birth country.
“When I was told I’m persona non grata, I had to look it up on Wikipedia,” she told the New York Times.
She used the hashtag #AfraidOfABeautyQueen on social media to defend her situation.
On her Facebook page, she said: “My purpose is to advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves. I also want to give courage to all people living under repressive systems.”I'm in Hong Kong, but the Chinese government has barred me from getting the next flight to Sanya for Miss World. #AfraidOfABeautyQueen
The 25-year-old was born in China, but moved to Canada at the age of 13 with her mother where she became an actor and a classically trained pianist.
“Probably because Lin moved to Canada at a young age, she lacks reasonable understanding of the country where she was born. She might not know that all performers should avoid being involved in radical political issues in the globalised times,” Global Times added.
Ms Lin practices Falun Gong, a form of spiritual meditation based on truth, compassion and tolerance, which is classified as a cult and banned in China. She has also spoken out about independence for Xinjiang and Tibet, and given evidence at a US congressional hearing on religious persecution.
Global Times said: “She must have learned that she couldn’t play up to her circle in Canada through defaming China and then strive to reach the broad mainland market.”
“My denial was unfortunate, but not entirely unexpected”, she said on her Facebook post.
She had hoped to obtain a visa-on-arrival after not being sent one by the organisers.
“They are trying to punish me for my beliefs and prevent me from speaking out about human rights issues.
“Many others have had similar experiences: for years, the Chinese government has used the threat of visa denials to punish dissidents or anyone with unapproved views, and to bring academics and journalists to heel."
She went on to say: “I didn’t receive the invitation letter from the Chinese organises of the Miss World Final. I owed it to all those who don’t have a voice to at least try (to enter the competition)."
A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Ottawa told Canada’s Glove and Mail newspaper: “China does not allow any persona non grata to come to China.”
In a statement, the embassy said “China welcomes all lawful activities organised in china by international organisations or agencies, including the Miss World pageant. But China does not allow any persona non grata to come to China.”
The Global Times article ended with: “Lin needs to learn to be responsible for her word and deeds, and for the possible consequences of the path chosen based on her own values.”
Other people banned from entering china due to their outspoken views on the country include Richard Gere, Christian Bale and Brad Pitt, who have all spoken about human rights. Concerts by Bon Jovi, Linkin Park and Oasis, have also been blocked after the bands expressed sympathy for the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan leader in exile.
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