Beauty queen quits pageant after 'meddling' by China

News Telegraph The News Telegraph 12 July 2005

Published in:

by Sebastien Berger, South East Asia Correspondent

Tashi Yangchen, 24, who is studying for an MBA in London, was crowned Miss Tibet at a contest in Dharamsala, seat of the Tibetan government in exile in India, last year.

With the sash came the right to take part in the Miss Tourism pageant currently being held in Kuching, Sarawak, until the Chinese embassy stepped in and organisers bowed to their demands.

China invaded Tibet in 1951 and the Dalai Lama fled into exile eight years later. Beijing stamps on any expression of Tibetan nationalism and its reach now apparently extends to foreign catwalks.

"I do not want to offend anyone, including Tibet, but we do not want to have anything to do with their internal issues," said Alaric Soh, organiser of the Miss Tourism contest, who raised the question with the Chinese embassy. "We will not accept her entry if she participates as Miss Tibet."

Other contestants, he added, include Miss China, Miss Hong Kong-China, and Miss Chinese Taipei — an alternative name for Taiwan.

The Miss Tibet organisers were unwilling to compromise. "Now she is not participating," said Ngawang Samdup, a spokesman. "It is unfortunate that China is meddling in the event with political motives."

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