"Why is a powerful country like China so afraid of a beauty queen?" Anastasia Lin asked in 2015 after the country denied her a visa to keep her from competing in the annual Miss World pageant being held there. The New York Times reports the 26-year-old Canadian beauty queen has rubbed China the wrong way because she uses her platform to speak out against the country's human rights abuses. “I don’t care about all this—the hair, the dresses,” Lin tells the Boston Globe. “I just want to get to that stage and be the voice for people who are silenced.” But now family and friends say Lin is the one being silenced, threatened with being booted from the 2016 Miss World pageant—funded largely by Chinese companies despite being held in the US this year—if she continues to speak her mind.
Moments after Lin gave the Globe the above quote, pageant officials broke up the interview. And sources tell the Hollywood Reporter that Miss World has turned down requests from the AP, Times, and Reuters to interview Lin. After a State Department official requested to meet with Lin, Miss World reportedly insisted on a pageant chaperone. Lin, also an actor, is the star of The Bleeding Edge, a film about China harvesting organs from members of a banned religious group that is premiering in the US on Wednesday. Organizers of the premiere say Miss World is banning her from attending. The head of the Miss World pageant denies any sort of "gag order" on Lin, saying she's free to attend events and speak with anyone she wishes. (Read more Miss World stories.)