Miss World Canada Must Accept Consequences of Political Action
Mireia Lalaguna Royo from Spain claimed the crown at the just concluded Miss Worldpageant in Sanya, South China's Hainan Province. Before Miss Spain's glamour, beauty andtalent captured the world's attention, the event had been shrouded in a political controversy.
In November, Miss World Canada Anastasia Lin, a Chinese-born Canadian citizen, said shewas denied a visa to come to China for the competition. Chinese immigration officials alsostopped her boarding a flight from Hong Kong to Sanya, foiling her attempt to benefit fromHainan Province's special visa policy for Canadian nationals.
In a response to inquiries made by Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail, the Chineseembassy in Canada declared that "China does not allow any persona non grata to come toChina." Lin had earned the "unwelcome person" status before she claimed the title of MissCanada, and it was for a reason.
Moving from China to Canada at a young age, Lin's career as an actress and human rightsactivist is closely attached to her place of birth, but on a controversial path. Several rolesshe played showed Falun Gong in a positive light, a group branded a dangerous cult by theChinese government due to its brainwashing and the risk it poses to social stability.
Her advocacy for "human rights" based on her "sympathy" for Tibet and Xinjiangseparatists aims to smear the Chinese authorities, regardless of the separatists' notorietyin Chinese society. In July, she testified at a US Congressional hearing, criticizing China's"persecution" of religious freedom.
Many entertainers are avid political activists. There is nothing wrong with that per se, butthey must accept and face up to the possible consequences. American diva Jennifer Lopezonce tasted the bitter lesson of performing for a political figure that American mainstreamsociety deems unacceptable. Tayu Lo, a singer from Taiwan, was censured by local Taiwanauthorities for his stand against so-called Taiwan independence. Sometimes, even carelessmistakes could trigger public uproar. In 2001, mainland actress Zhao Wei was hit by apublic image crisis when she posed for a magazine cover photo in a Japanese military flagoutfit. She later made a public apology.
Falun Gong, though it claims to be a religious organization, has political motives and takes aradical anti-government stance. Lin may have limited understanding of Chinese affairssince she left the country at a young age.
People with a Chinese background and artistic dreams can easily catch the attention ofWestern media, if they take a position against Chinese established system.
In every society, there are always a handful of entertainers who are also politicalspeculators, and a few of them can make a name for themselves. Perhaps Lin was misledby people of this sort around her.
Every society should stick to certain principles. If Lin continues on her way, she shouldbear the costs. In most cases, political speculation is like walking on the edge of a cliff. It'sonly a delusion if she wants to be a double-dealer, tarnishing China's image to please theWest, and while gaining popularity in the Chinese market.
Lin's view about China has certain audience in the Western world, outdated due to lack ofknowledge and arbitrary through a lens of prejudice. As for Lin, an immigrant from Chinato Canada, she should have assumed a role of bridging cultural gaps and clearing upmisunderstandings between China and the Western world. However, she has chosen theopposite way, which only generates more misconceptions.