David Feith at The Wall Street Journal has an intriguing suggestion for President-elect Donald Trump: take a meeting with Miss Canada when the Miss World pageant rolls into Washington D.C. this weekend.
The current Miss Canada is Anastasia Lin, and she might look like an angel, but she’s a walking, talking migraine headache for the Politburo — a Chinese-born practitioner of Falun Gong, the spiritual discipline banned in China as a threat to Communist power, and an outspoken human rights activist.
As Feith notes, she was blocked from participating in last year’s Miss World contest because it was held in China, and the Miss World organization disgracefully bowed to Beijing’s demands because its sponsors are now all Chinese companies.
He reports that the long arm of Communist China is still trying to reach into Canada and the United States to muzzle her:
According to my sources, the Miss World officials fielding Ms. Lin’s interview requests have ignored a litany of queries from major outlets, in addition to my own. When she sat down recently with a Boston Globe correspondent at a pageant venue, a Miss World official aggressively interrupted them, stopped the interview and warned Ms. Lin that she could be disqualified for any further contact with journalists.
Miss World further barred Ms. Lin from attending Wednesday’s U.S. premiere of “The Bleeding Edge,” in which she stars as a Falun Gong practitioner brutally tortured in a Chinese prison. A pageant official also insisted on attending Ms. Lin’s meeting last week with David Saperstein, the U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. The handler afterward urged Mr. Saperstein’s office not to tweet about the meeting—a move that may be especially galling to America’s famously Twitter-savvy president-elect.
The New York Times adds that “The Bleeding Edge” also covers the involuntary harvesting of organs from prisoners.
According to the Times’s sources, Lin has been bluntly threatened with ejection from the pageant if she talks to reporters. The Chinese government has also demonstrated a willingness to threaten her father, who owns a medical supply company in China and was denied permission to visit Washington to watch his daughter compete in the Miss World finals.
Sophie Richardson of Human Rights Watch told the Times that China’s obsession with “soft power,” or cultural influence beyond its borders, covers a sinister agenda of normalizing Chinese repression.
“Whether it’s choosing what movies you get to see or what information can be censored online, Chinese authorities are increasingly trying to insist that the restrictions they impose at home become the norm abroad,” said Richardson. “That they deem it necessary to try to manipulate international beauty pageants would be puzzling or quirky if it weren’t indicative of a far more serious pathology.”
China is not the only authoritarian regime seeking to normalize repression, but they are the most aggressive. As Richardson points out, they do not feel ashamed or insecure when Lin taunts them about picking on a beauty queen, as she did after she was locked out of last year’s competition. On the contrary, Beijing wants to use every bit of leverage at its disposal, to force as many Western institutions and corporations as possible to accept its repressive ideals.
Feith at The Wall Street Journal suggests that Beijing has nevertheless exposed a weakness Trump could exploit: “Donald Trump is a master at pinpointing the vulnerabilities of his rivals, and it doesn’t take a genius to see which issues Beijing doesn’t want to be called out on. They’re the ones it spends so much time and effort seeking to squash through censorship and intimidation at home and overseas. Like the testimony of Anastasia Lin.”