China made headlines again when it barred the reigning Miss World Canada from entering the country last week. China has declared Anastasia Lin age 25, ‘persona non grata’ in light of her activism and speaking out against religious persecution in China. Refusing her a visa to enter the country also means that Lin cannot attend and compete in the Miss World Competition being hosted on the Chinese island of Hainan.
Anastasia Lin was born in China and moved to Canada with her mother at the age of 13. Her father remained behind is China, where he is today. Lin got involved in activism in her teens and continued that path as she entered the University of Toronto, double majoring in International Relations and Acting. As an actress, she relishes roles that carry messages of freedom and morality according to her official bio on her website.
After not receiving an official invitation or a visa to enter China for the competition she attempted to quietly slip into China but was caught. According to Time, shortly after learning that she was barred from entering China, Lin said, according to CNN:
Ask the Chinese government why is it afraid to let in a beauty queen? Ask them why, what kind of precedent this would set for future international events that it wants to host. Ask them whether they would also bar Olympic athletes from participating in the Winter Olympic Games just because they have different views that the Communist Party don’t agree with?
Sunday the Chinese tabloid, Global Times released an article attacking the beauty queen activist stating that “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 globalized times,” Following it up with “Lin has to pay a cost for being tangled with hostile forces. She may not know that all performers should avoid being involved in radical political issues.” It went on to add It added: “Lin needs to learn to be responsible for her words and deeds.”
Anastasia Lin took to Facebook saying
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
This past July, Lin testified at a U.S. congressional hearing on religious persecution in China, testifying that she wanted to “speak for those in China that are beaten, burned and electrocuted for holding to their beliefs,” You can read her whole statement HERE
Earlier this year Lin published an op-ed piece in the Washington Post where she said
Some Chinese people, especially those who lived through the Cultural Revolution and later campaigns, have internalized the lesson that one must not speak critically of the regime. That explains why, in addition to receiving many messages of support, I have also received letters from Chinese people telling me to tone down my human rights platform, which they see as too political. But to me this isn’t a matter of politics. It’s about universal human values that should never be abrogated.
A petition has been started by a religious leader in China and as of the time of this writing has 5,774 signatures. The petition states in part
If China aspires to be a responsible member of the international community it should behave according to the standard of that community, including respecting basic freedoms and different viewpoints.
Other Human Rights Activists who have been barred from China are Richard Gere and Brad Pitt.
Follow Anastasia’s story on Facebook