Miss Tibet Sent Home

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe, 26 February 2005

Published in:
Rastafari Speaks - http://www.rastafarispeaks.com/cgi-bin/forum/config.pl?noframes;read=51740

by Joseph Katete

Mugabe's look-east policy, that is, establishing links with Asia instead of the West, appears to be in danger of putting us in orbit around the dragon. So much for fighting imperialism.

As the more than 80 participants in the Miss Tourism World contestants get ready to walk to the ramp at the Harare International Conference Centre for the coveted crown, politics has reared its ugly head, and saw Miss Tibet 2004, Tashi Yangchen, being sent after the Chinese Embassy in Harare allegedly complained about her participation.

The Tibetan beauty queen is reported to have arrived in Harare on February 13 but was told by the pageant organisers that the Chinese embassy had objected to her taking part in tonight's event, since Tibet is regarded a province of China.

China occupied Tibet in 1950 and since then, Tibet has sought autonomy from that country. Ngawang Samdup, a spokesperson for the Miss Tibet pageant, confirmed Tashi's expulsion from the pageant.

"It is unfortunate that politics dictates events of young women and their aspirations," Samdup told AFP soon after the expulsion.

The President of the Miss Tourism World Organisation, John Singh, confirmed that Tashi was sent packing from Harare, but was evasive on the actual reasons.

Rather, he wanted to talk about the "success" that he has scored in making sure that the event was held in Harare.

Singh said the sending away of Tashi was not an issue that the local media should concentrate on or should take interest in as it would not be good for the image of the country.

He said most Western countries were against the holding of the pageant here as much as they wanted to politicise it.

"We are not a political organisation and our mission here is purely about promoting tourism. The girl was sent back home simply because she didn’t meet the criteria for the Miss Tourism World and this would apply to any of the contestants. If it is found during rehearsals that are now underway that they would be lacking something they can still be sent home," said Singh.

On being quizzed by The Daily Mirror why in the first place Tashi had come to Harare, Singh said she was selected on the basis that she was Miss Tibet as there were no preliminaries held for the Miss Tourism World beauty pageant, which is a different pageantry altogether.

Singh alleged that Tashi was not decided on which country she represented — China or Tibet.

He said Tashi's predicament was compounded by the fact that she did not possess a Chinese or Tibet passport. She had an Indian passport instead, he added.

Contacted for comment Gao Linho, the First Secretary (Head of Chancery) at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, professed ignorance on the issue.

"I don't know anything about this," said Gao before asking this reporter to put further questions in writing.

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