Miss World Canada prevented from reaching China pageant

Fri Nov 27, 2015 10:47am EST
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By Tyrone Siu

HONG KONG (Reuters) - 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, a move she said was punishment for speaking out against human rights abuses in the country.

Anastasia Lin, a 25-year-old Toronto actress 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, on the southern Chinese resort island of Hainan.

But she said she attempted to enter the country anyway based on a rule that allows Canadian citizens to obtain a landing visa upon arrival in Sanya.

Lin, who is a practitioner of Falun Gong, a religious group that says it is repressed in China, told reporters at Hong Kong's international airport that she was prevented from boarding a Dragonair flight to Sanya. She said there has been no response from the Chinese authorities so far.

"There's no comment from the Chinese embassy ... so I realize that's the tactics they're using, they just want to let it die down," said Lin, who was wheeling a silver suitcase and dressed in a long brown trench coat.

"It's very difficult to stand up for what you believe in," she said, adding: "I need to figure out what to do next."

Lin testified at a U.S. congressional hearing on religious persecution in China in July. In her testimony, she 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.

Lin said this month that her father had been harassed by Chinese officials after she spoke out about human rights abuses in the communist country.   Continued...

Miss World Canada Anastasia Lin attends a news conference in Hong Kong, China November 27, 2015. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu