Anastasia Lin is the Chinese-born 25-year-old who won the crown of Miss World Canada in May. Lin used the worldwide stage to speak out for human rights and religious freedom. Her native land of China took note. When it came time for Lin to travel to China for the Miss World competition, her visa did not arrive. When she tried to board a flight from Hong Kong to Hainan, she was stopped and acknowledged as “persona non grata.”
Lin is a follower of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice which has been banned in China in the 1990s. The Communist Party deems Falun Gong “as a potential threat due to its size, independence from the state, and spiritual teachings.” In 1999, the party blocked access to websites that mentioned Falun Gong. Practitioners have been arrested, and thousands have died as a result of abuse in custody. The 2015 Miss World will be crowned in China on December 19. Will that young woman speak out too? Lin’s photo has been removed from the gallery of contestants.