In the latest twist in the Anastasia Lin saga, the Miss World Canada and hopeful Miss World contestant says that she was denied entry to a plane taking off from Hong Kong that would have landed her in Sanya, Hainan province, where the 2015 Miss World competition is being held.
In a lengthy post on Facebook, Lin writes that she arrived in Hong Kong at 6:00 a.m. earlier today en route to Sanya. Unlike all of the other contestants, Lin never received a visa from China despite repeated attempts. No reason has been given as to why Lin never received a visa, she says it is because of her human rights advocacy and her status as a Falun Gong follower. When the deadline for entry in the competition passed and Lin was still visaless, most assumed that that was likely that.
However, Canadian citizens are eligible to obtain a visa upon arrival in Sanya, trusting in this little loophole, Lin tried to make one last effort to travel to the capital of Hainan via Hong Kong.
But this latest attempt fell through as well when she was prevented from boarding the plane in Hong Kong. Lin says that she was again given no reason for the denial.
She will be holding a press conference in Hong Kong tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. at the Regal Airport Hotel. Judging by the content of the rest of her Facebook post, it looks like it will be a doozy. In the post, Lin writes about why she wants to participate in the competition so badly, how she came to Falun Gong and what she really thinks about the Chinese government.
Here are a few excerpts:
This is a very personal cause for me. When I was a child growing up in China, my job as a student council president involved enforcing ideological purity among my classmates, organizing them to watch Communist propaganda. It was only after I moved to Canada that I discovered what it meant to think freely, to use my own mind, and to live without fear of arbitrary punishment or reprisal.
To me, this is the essence of being Canadian and living in a free society. And it is something I hope that all people will one day be able to experience.
My denial was unfortunate, but not entirely unexpected. The Chinese government has barred me from the competition for political reasons. They are trying to punish me for my beliefs and prevent me from speaking out about 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.
This is not conduct befitting an aspiring superpower—especially one that hopes to host international competitions such as Miss World and the upcoming Winter Olympics. Silencing beauty queens, censoring journalists, and torturing religious believers is not a sign of strength—it is a sign of profound weakness and insecurity.
If China wishes to be respected by the international community, it should abide by the norms and standards of that community. If it wishes to be strong and prosperous, it should realize that strength comes from diversity, from being able to listen to different ideas. The Chinese people have an ancient civilization with rich intellectual traditions. They are fully capable of discerning right from wrong if given a chance. It is too bad that the Chinese government will not afford them this opportunity.
The 25-year-old Lin was born and raised in Hunan, but now has Canadian citizenship. She moved to the country at the age of 13 with her mother, going on to graduate from the University of Toronto and building a career as a model, actress and activist.
Lin says her interest in human rights began when she heard the stories of other Chinese citizens who said they were being targeted by the government.She has since performed in films about the abuse of Falun Gong members and spoken about the subject to a US Congressional committee in July.
Earlier this year, Lin penned an op-ed in The Washington Post claiming that her father, who still lives in China, had started receiving threats from Chinese security agents complaining about his daughter’s human rights advocacy. Despite the threats, Lin vowed to carry on her work. In the article she wrote:
Many people have asked me why I have continued speaking out after my father was threatened. The answer is simple: If I allow myself to be intimidated, then I am complicit in continued human rights abuses. If I and others who share my concerns allow ourselves to be silenced, the Communist Party will continue abusing its people with impunity.
Lin has also crafted a video to help raise awareness and support for her bid to be included in the Miss World pageant, watch it here:
And in case that video made you curious about Lin’s acting career, here is the preview for her upcoming flick: