Miss World Canada denied China entry at Hong Kong airport after human rights advocacy

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 November, 2015, 7:28pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 November, 2015, 12:20pm

Chinese-Canadian beauty queen and actress Anastasia Lin was blocked from entering mainland China on Thursday to compete in the Miss World pageant after she criticised the country's sense of security.

Lin, who arrived in Hong Kong from Toronto without a visa, talked to the local media after she was not allowed to board a plane to Sanya in Hainan Province, where the Miss World beauty contest is being held.

Watch: Canadian beauty queen barred from leaving Hong Kong for China after human rights advocacy

“What I feel particularly upset about is this big country can’t even take in a 25-year-old girl. This shows that the country does not have a sense of security. Don’t they have any confidence in their authority?” Lin said from Chek Lap Kok Airport on Thursday night.

READ MORE: Miss World contestant puts pageant chances on the line to testify to US Congress about China’s human rights

Lin, a self-styled activist and Falun Gong practicioner, arrived in Hong Kong from Toronto at 6am on Thursday on a Cathay Pacific flight, as she planned to take another connecting flight with Dragonair to Sanya. She said that she continued the journey to Sanya without a Chinese visa because of Hainan province's special visa policy.

“I’m a Canadian citizen. By Chinese law, I'm eligible to receive a landing visa upon arrival in Sanya. Because Hainan is a special place, a tourist place, Hainan has a different visa policy,” said Lin.

She said she explained this to airline staff when she was first prevented from boarding the plane, and had to wait for an answer from the Hainan province government on further steps regarding her visa.

She waited from 10am to around 3.30pm, until she was granted a phone interview with an officer from the Hainan authorities.

READ MORE: Canada’s Miss World finalist Anastasia Lin comes out as a Falun Gong practitioner

She said the officer asked her several questions, including where she was born, her date of birth, when she moved to Canada and her Chinese name.

After I said my Chinese name is Lin Yefan, he went like ‘oh, okay...you are not eligible to receive a landing visa
Anastasia Lin

“After I said my Chinese name is Lin Yefan, he went like ‘oh, okay...you are not eligible to receive a landing visa’,” said Lin.

She said the man told her “there was no reason given. You are just not eligible”.

Dragonair staff presented her a slip stating that “you are not eligible to board the plane”, without issuing an official copy to her. Lin claimed she took a photo of that paper, but she declined to show that photo when requested by the Post.

“I don’t see the point of denying me a visa ... I don’t see any threat that I would possibly pose to the security of a country,” said Lin.

“I am a rightful representative of Canada. If my eligibility is dependent on the hosting country’s political discrimination, what is that? Does that mean that in the future all Olympic athletes have to self-censor from now to 2022 in order to get into China for the Olympic games? What kind of unhealthy climate would that be?” asked Lin.

While the opening ceremony of the beauty contest was on November 23, Lin has been waiting for an invitation letter from the Sanya government in order to let her apply for a visa to China.

Stating that she was not a member of any group but just a “practitioner of Falun Gong”, Lin was aware of the sensitivity of her identity.

I don’t see the point of denying me a visa...I don’t see any threat that would possibly pose to the security of a country
Lin

“It’s very sensitive. That’s part of the reason why the Chinese government is so afraid of me,” said Lin, referring to her relationship with the belief.

She said she did not know what to do next nor how long she was going to stay in Hong Kong. She said she needed a night to think about it.

Lin had been an outspoken critic of Chinese religious policy and a follower of the Falun Gong meditation sect, which was outlawed by the country's ruling Communist Party as an “evil cult” in 1999.

Authorities declined to comment for this story.