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Story highlights

Beauty queen Anastasia Lin says she has been barred from entering China

Lin was due in the resort island of Hainan to compete in the Miss World pageant

(CNN) —  

Is China afraid of a beauty queen?

That’s what Canada’s Miss World contestant is asking after she said she’d been barred from entering the country to take part in the beauty pageant because of her outspoken views on human rights in China.

Anastasia Lin, who was born in China and moved to Canada as a teen, told CNN that she had been unable to board her Thursday connecting flight in Hong Kong to the city of Sanya, Hainan, where the Miss World contest is already underway.

A Chinese official named Chen told her by telephone that she would not be granted a landing visa on arrival, she said.

Outspoken critic

Lin said that she had been publicly critical of China’s religious policies and is a believer in Falun Gong, a spiritual group that is banned in China and which Beijing describes as a cult.

“I think people should know about it. My story is just the tip of (the) iceberg,” she told CNN.

She said her father, who still lives in China, had faced harassment from security officials and had discouraged her from taking part in the Miss World contest.

“He’s scared to get on the phone with me,” she said. “He’s so frightened.”

The London-based organizers of Miss World didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Lin said she had earlier tried to apply for a visa to attend the pageant but, unlike other contestants, was not issued an invitation letter by officials in the host city.

However, she said she decided to make the trip as, unlike elsewhere in China, citizens from 21 countries, including Canada, are eligible to get a tourist visa on arrival and stay for up to 15 days in Hainan, an island province best known for its beach resorts.

READ: When politics and beauty pageants collide