Canada pageant finalist says China delaying her entry over rights comments

Wed Nov 11, 2015 5:02pm EST
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By Andrea Hopkins

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's China-born Miss World contestant said on Tuesday her visa to travel to the beauty pageant at a Chinese resort has been delayed and her father has been harassed by Chinese officials because she has spoken out about human rights abuses in the communist country.

Anastasia Lin, an actress crowned Miss World Canada in May, said her determination to speak out about Chinese rights abuses may have cost her a chance to attend the Dec. 19 final in Sanya.

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 full text of her statement on the Congressional-Executive Commission on China's website.

"I was interested in human rights way before I even thought of beauty pageants," Lin, 25, told Reuters on Tuesday.

Lin said finalists from other countries had received their invitation from the Chinese host venue that allows them to apply for a visa to attend the finals, but she has received no letter and believes China is trying to block her from the event.

Reuters was not able to independently confirm whether other finalists had received their invitation letters.

"I don't think this is an administrative issue. It is not. I think this is a matter of principle," said Lin, who also is a practitioner of Falun Gong, a spiritual group banned in mainland China.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, asked about Lin's case, said he "did not understand the situation". He did not elaborate.   Continued...

Miss World Canada Anastasia Lin poses with her crown after an interview at her home in Toronto, Ontario November 10, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Helgren