Though expelled, I earned friendship: Miss Tibet

Indo-Asian News Service 27 February 2005

Published in:
Times of India, INDIA

By R.K. Prashar, Indo-Asian News Service

Dharamsala, Feb 27 (IANS) It came as a shock initially, but Miss Tibet Tashi Yangchen, who was recently expelled from the Miss World Tourism Pageant, has boldly taken it in her stride.

"I have not come to create political propaganda, I told them," the 24-year-old computer engineer from Sikkim told IANS in an interview, when she returned to India after being barred from the pageant, allegedly after pressure from the Chinese government.

"For me participating in Miss Tourism world pageant meant to promote peace, harmony and tourism among all. I was shocked (then), but I acted cool," said Yangchen, who was chosen from Tibetan exiles from around the world.

Miss World Tourism Pageant, a British production by John Singh, had its finals scheduled for Saturday in Zimbabwe. It saw the participation of representatives from about 90 countries.

Yangchen, who had landed Feb 13 in Zimbabwe, was informed of her dismissal by the organisers Feb 16 citing objection from the Chinese embassy in Harare.

"I was quite excited (since) it was an international competition. It would enable me to build new friendly relations with girls from various countries," Yangchen said.

"(On Feb 16,) all the girls were assembled with their luggage near the reception waiting for a bus to take us to the Victoria Falls. I was called to the corner by John Singh. He told me that the Chinese were pressurising him."

"I told him I did not come there to create political propaganda. I was a part of the pageant to increase harmony and propagate peace."

She may not have been able to participate, but Yangchen does not feel the trip was a waste.

"My trip to Zimbabwe, even though short, was complete and satisfying. I didn't lose anything, but earned friendship and learned what Zimbabwe is all about. I am happy about my trip," she bravely said.

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