Anastasia Lin is an actress who believes her outspoken advocacy of human rights in her native China played a big role in her winning bid in May to become Canada's contestant in the Miss World pageant. But then the host country for the global beauty pageant was changed from Australia to China, and now the communist country appears to have singled Lin out among the contestants and is stalling over her visa application. As a result, it's unclear whether Canada will be represented at all in the pageant on Dec. 19 in Sanya. The chief executive of Miss World Canada says he assured officials at the pageant's London headquarters that Lin would not go out of her way to draw attention to her involvement in Falun Gong, a spiritual group outlawed in China. But Lin, 25, says she'll continue to speak out for the group.
"I'm not going to do anything irrational, that's non-peaceful," but "I am going to speak my mind, that's for sure," says Lin, who moved to Canada when she was 13. Lin has been anything but shy about her beliefs. Two months after winning the Canadian pageant, she testified at a US congressional hearing about religious persecution in China. She also plays an imprisoned Falun Gong practitioner in an upcoming Canadian movie, The Bleeding Edge. She adds that her father in China has come under pressure from authorities there. Miss World says the pageant will go on if Lin is not granted a visa, but the Canadian executive says Canada won't send the first runner-up if Lin doesn't get a visa.