DHARAMSALA, Nov 24: In the latest incident of China using its pressure tactics at international events to toe its line, Taiwanese representative at Miss Earth 2015 has been kicked out of the pageant for refusing to replace her original sash that read ‘Miss Taiwan ROC’ to one that reads ‘Miss Chinese Taipei’.
Ting Wen-yin, the 22-yr-old contestant representing Taiwan made the revelation in a Facebook post published on Nov 22, adding that she had been warned of the possibility of political pressure from China before she went to Vienna, Austria where the pageant was being held.
“I told them 30,000 times that Taiwan is Taiwan. I was born in Taiwan, my sash now says Taiwan, I represent Taiwan, and I’m going to use the name of Taiwan in appearing at this pageant,” Ting wrote, adding “Their response to me was, ‘change your sash or just leave’. Today, they did not allow me to stand on stage and photographers were not allowed to take my pictures.”
It is not the first time that a beauty pageant from the island nation has been forced to wear a sash reading ‘Miss Chinese Taipei’ under pressure from China. In 2003, Miss Beverly Chen representing Taiwan at the Miss Universe contest succumbed to Chinese pressure and wore ‘Miss Chinese Taipei’ sash.
Similarly, in yet another recent case of politicization of international beauty contests by China, Miss Anastasia Lin, representing Canada at this year’s Miss World contest to be held in Sanya, China has still not been granted a visa to participate in the beauty contest. It is widely understood that she is being kept at bay by Beijing for being a human rights advocate and a Falung Gong practitioner.
Tibetan beauty pageants
Tibetan beauty pageants have been at the receiving end of China’s bullying tactics at international beauty pageants for far too long.
Miss Tibet 2004, Tashi Yangchen and Miss Tibet 2006, Tsering Chungtak had to withdraw from pageants held in Zimbabwe and Malaysia respectively after organizers forced them to wear “Miss Tibet-China” sash under pressure from China.
Miss Tibet 2007, Tenzin Dolma refused to wear such a sash in the Philippines but she was, however, allowed to wear the ‘Miss Tibet’ sash.
Miss Tibet 2011, Tenzin Yangkyi also declined to wear a sash reading ‘Miss Tibet China’ at Miss Asia Pacific World 2011 beauty pageant held in South Korea. However, she was allowed to participate when she decided to change the sash name to “Miss Swiss Tibet”, as she is a Swiss citizen.