Ugly rumours rejected in beauty contest row
A beauty pageant organiser in the southwestern municipality of Chongqing has defended the selection of the top three winners, following accusations that the judges came under pressure to select certain women, who were criticised online as not being pretty enough.
Lan Rong, chairwoman of the Chongqing organising committee of the 52nd Miss International China pageant, told the Chongqing Economic Times on Saturday that there were 'reasons and principles behind the choosing of these three women'.
In dismissing the accusations, Lan said: 'The pageant in Chongqing is over, but we still have the national final.'
Questions about the show's credibility began swirling after photos were released online of the three women on Tuesday.
Several internet users suggested that there must have been under-the-table deals behind their selection, because 'no true beauty' was selected.
Doubts were further fuelled after one of the contestants, who declined to reveal her identity, other than saying she finished in the top 10, told the Yangcheng Evening News that the trainers had been especially kind to certain girls, and that the contestants all had a hunch about who would win and be named first runner-up.
The unidentified contestant also said they were asked to simply walk onto the stage for a short time, without being assigned a number.
Further, an unidentified judge told the Chongqing Morning Post last week that the judges were pressured in their selections, and that the result was not based on their decisions.
'We are also disappointed in the three who were crowned, and personally I don't think they represent the women of Chongqing well,' the judge told the newspaper.
A man who witnessed the pageant told the same newspaper that even though 20 women participated in the pageant, the question-and-answer portion did not include them all. There was no voting session, and the host simply announced the results at the end.
But Tong Qingwen, spokeswoman for the pageant, said the results of the pageant were 'impartial and fair'. 'The organising committee received no indication of doubt or challenges from the judges,' Tong said.
She said the committee would respect the results, and that the trio of winners would represent Chongqing in the national final.
'Perhaps the public is not very clear about the definition of Miss International,' she said. 'We are not only selecting them on beauty, we are taking all aspects into consideration, so the results might be different than the standards of internet users.'
Tao Yujie , the second runner-up who received the most criticism online, said in an online interview on Friday that it felt as if she had been dosed with 'a pot of cold water'. She also stressed that their selection was legitimate.
One internet user said of Tao: 'I don't believe that an under-the-table deal didn't take place. Most of the Chongqing girls I know are better-looking than you.'
Yang Anqi, the first runner-up, said: 'I am not mad at the controversy. It feels like 10,000 arrows piercing my heart, but I just need to accept it.'