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Miss World Canada Anastasia Lin denied China visa for pageant

Miss World Canada Anastasia Lin is interviewed in Hong Kong after being denied entry to Sanya by a Chinese immigration official.
Philippe Lopez | AFP | Getty Images
Miss World Canada Anastasia Lin is interviewed in Hong Kong after being denied entry to Sanya by a Chinese immigration official.

Canada's Miss World entrant, Anastasia Lin, has been refused permission to enter China to compete in the beauty pageant, apparently in retaliation for her comments on the country's human rights record.

Lin, a Chinese-born Canadian citizen, told CNBC that she had flown from Canada to Hong Kong but was not allowed to board another plane to Sanya island in China's Hainan Province.

The Miss World pageant is being held on Sanya, a Chinese tourist hotspot that Lin said had a visa system that differed from that of the mainland.

"I have every right to be there to represent my country," she said. "Because Hainan is a special island ... upon arrival we are eligible to receive a landing visa, so that's what I was trying to do."

Lin said Chinese immigration officials did not offer an explanation for refusing her a landing visa.

The beauty queen is a practitioner of Falun Gong, an exercise, meditation and philosophical regime that has been banned in China since 1999. The Communist Party reportedly feared that Falun Gong's huge popularity was a threat to its political leadership.

Human rights groups claim China continues to imprison Falun Gong followers without trial, among other abuses.

"I want people of the world, especially overseas Chinese, to really have the courage to speak their own mind," Lin, who testified to a U.S. Congress panel in July about the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, told CNBC.

"The Communist Party has been known for years to use leverage, to use visas, to use family members to silence overseas Chinese, to silence journalists and academics. I'm just doing my best to stop [this]."

Lin tweeted on Friday that she had received "amazing support" for her stance, tagging her tweets #AfraidOfABeautyQueen

The Miss World grand final will be held on December 19. Lin's photograph was missing from the list of contestants on the Miss World website on Friday, although her name and country were visible.

The Miss World organization did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment, nor did China's Foreign Ministry.