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Canada's Miss World Contestant Was Stopped From Flying To China To Take Part In The Finals

Anastasia Lin says China is punishing her because of her human rights activism.

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Canada's outspoken Miss World contestant, Anastasia Lin, was stopped from boarding a flight on Thursday from Hong Kong to mainland China, all but ensuring she will miss the finals of the competition.

Tyrone Siu / Reuters

Unlike contestants from other countries, Lin had not received an invitation letter from Chinese authorities to take part in the annual pageant, to be held in the city of Sanya on Dec. 19. Lin believes her public criticism of China's human rights record led to her being left out.

"I was never given an explanation as to why I did not receive the letter," she said in a statement on Facebook. "Under Chinese law, however, Canadian citizens are eligible to obtain a landing visa upon arrival in Sanya, so I decided to try attending anyway."

Despite her best efforts, though, she was unable to get a visa or board the plane.

"No reason was given for the denial," she said.

I'm in Hong Kong, but the Chinese government has barred me from getting the next flight to Sanya for Miss World. #AfraidOfABeautyQueen

Lin is a practitioner of Falun Gong, a meditation-based spiritual movement whose members have faced state persecution including torture, according to Human Rights Watch and other NGOs. (China banned Falun Gong in 1999 and describes it as "an evil cult.")

Anastasia Lin / Via Facebook: AnastasiaLinforMWC2013

Lin has strongly criticized China's treatment of Falun Gong members, including at a U.S. Congressional committee in July.

In an interview with BuzzFeed Canada earlier this month, Lin said her father, who still lives in China, had been threatened over her activism.

"He said the security forces approached him and told him I should stop my human rights work,” Lin told Buzzfeed Canada.

Despite Lin's high profile, the Chinese embassy in Ottawa last week said she was barred from visiting the country.

Tyrone Siu / Reuters

A statement was sent to the Globe and Mail in response to questions over Lin's status that declared her "persona non grata."

The embassy spokesperson added: "I simply do not understand why some people pay special attention to this matter and have raised it repeatedly."

Caylan Ford, a friend of Lin's, told BuzzFeed Canada that Lin would stay in Hong Kong and figure out her next step.

"If she has any hope of getting in, she would like to try again, but having been turned away it seems like she got the answer she went for," Ford said.

She also said the Miss World Organization tried to secure Lin's entry into China and, having failed, is considering letting Lin hold on to her title as Miss World Canada for another year to let her compete again in 2016.

Ishmael Daro is a social news editor for BuzzFeed and is based in Toronto.

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at ishmael.daro@buzzfeed.com.

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