Ting Wen-yin, Taiwan’s representative at Miss Earth 2015, claims she has been kicked out of the beauty pageant for refusing to wear a sash that says “Miss Chinese Taipei” instead of “Miss Taiwan ROC,” which she is wearing now.
Ting’s claims echo very recent comments made by Miss World Canada Anastasia Lin, who said she never received her invitation letter to China even though one was issued to every other contestant. Lin is a practitioner of Falun Gong, a meditation practice that has been persecuted inside China since 1999. Lin says her father, who is living in China, has been threatened by the regime.
In Ting’s case, she was warned before she went to Vienna, where the pageant was being held, about political pressure from the Chinese regime.
“I told them 30,000 times that Taiwan is Taiwan,” Ting wrote on her Facebook page, according to a translation from Shanghaiist.
“I was born in Taiwan, my sash now says Taiwan, I represent Taiwan, and I’m going to use the name of Taiwan in appearing at this pageant.”
The pageant organizers’ response “was, ‘change your sash or just leave’. Today, they did not allow me to stand on stage and photographers were not allowed to take my pictures,” she added.
They later told Ting to replace her sash with another one that says, “Chinese Taipei,” which was used in most international competitions in recent years due to pressure from the Chinese regime, reported Focus Taiwan.
“I feel very appreciative to all the persons who have encouraged me. Now that I have been suspended from the contest and have returned to my hotel, I have had more time to think it over,” Ting said.
Ting told her fans not to buy into the pageant’s glamorous images.
“Over the last three nights, we were shuffled from nightclub to nightclub, wearing beautiful clothes to talk and dance with men. I felt like a club hostess,” she wrote. “So it might be a blessing in disguise that I’m out of this contest. We paid large sums of money to enter the contest, but we’re treated little better than prisoners.”
Since 2001, the Taiwan contestant was represented as “Miss Taiwan R.O.C.,” referring to Taiwan’s official name, the Republic of China.
In 2003, Miss Universe’s Taiwan contestant at the time, Beverly Chen, succumbed to political pressure and put on the “Miss Chinese Taipei” sash. She said organizers at the time gave her two sashes: “Miss Taiwan” and “Chinese Taipei.”
“I was told to wear the Chinese Taipei one in front of the media. The Miss Taiwan one was only for occasions where the media were absent,” Chen said, per Shanghaiist.