(From The Globe and mail)
Anastasia Lin, the Canadian beauty queen barred from a Miss World contest in China, “has to pay a cost for being tangled with hostile forces against China,” a prominent Communist-run newspaper has said.
The signed column in the Global Times is one of China’s most open rebukes of Lin, calling her a human-rights activist. It draws a line between Beijing’s refusal to let her into the country and her outspoken criticism of Chinese human-rights abuses – which has included acting as a Falun Gong practitioner and testifying at a US congressional hearing about Chinese religious persecution.
The column says Lin “needs to learn to be responsible for her words and deeds, and for the possible consequences of the path chosen based on her own values.”
It adds: “All performers should avoid being involved in radical political issues in the globalized times.”
The column was authored by Shan Renping, believed to be a pen name used by Hu Xijin, editor of the Global Times, a Communist Party-backed newspaper. It was also reprinted on the English website of the People’s Daily, one of the top organs of Chinese state media.
The column was accompanied by a photo not of Lin, but of Riza Santos, the Calgarian of Spanish, Filipino and Chinese descent who was named Miss World Canada in 2011.
An official with the Chinese embassy in Canada had earlier told The Globe and Mail that China effectively views her as persona non grata.
In an interview Monday morning, Lin called the column a warning “for everybody who wants to speak their mind – the scholars, journalists, kids in the younger generation who are watching this.”
China, she said, wants “to create this ring of fear, this ring of intimidation to stop people from speaking up the truth, and they want to use me as an example.”
Lin has since Thursday been in Hong Kong, where she was denied entry to mainland China for the Miss World contest in the country’s southern Hainan province. She spent the weekend meeting Hong Kong democracy leaders and giving interviews to foreign media, who have made her situation into global news. She also met with local Canadian consular officials who, she said, promised to forward information about her situation up the chain.
She also spoke with her father for the first time since November. He still lives in mainland China and has been threatened by Chinese security agents over her activism. He urged her to return to Canada and focus on her artistic career.
“He sounds like he’s scared,” Lin said.
But, she warned, such a mentality has consequences – perhaps even for Canada in coming years as athletes prepare for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.
“Do we have to start to self-censor from now on to 2022, just for our athletes to get into China?” she said. “That is such a problem if it really goes that way.”