A Taiwanese contestant was barred from a 'Miss Earth' pageant for wearing a Taiwanese national sash

Nov 25, 2015, 12:00 AM

The organizers of a Miss Earth beauty pageant have refused to allow its Taiwanese contestant on stage or to be photographed by the press, after she refused to wear a sash bearing “Chinese Taipei,” according to an online post written by the contestant.

Ting Wen-yin, 22, wrote that she had brought a sash bearing “Taiwan ROC,” but was handed an alternative, which read “Chinese Taipei.” After several protests, she was told to wear the new one or “just leave”.

“I told them 30,000 times that Taiwan is Taiwan,” wrote Ting Wen-yin, 22, on her Facebook profile on Nov. 22. “I was born in Taiwan, my sash reads Taiwan, I represent Taiwan.”

Instead, the organizers barred her from appearing on stage and prevented photographers from taking her picture, Ting wrote, adding: “They responded by saying Taiwan never enters competitions under the name “Taiwan,” only under Taipei.”

Mainland China does not recognize Taiwan as a state, and in 1979 China and Taiwan agreed that Taiwan could enter international games such as the Olympics registered as “Chinese Taipei”—Taipei being the capital of Taiwan—in order to defuse the political connotations of entering as the nation of Taiwan.

But such politicking threatens to derail any positive spin Miss Earth has so far generated around its beauty pageant. It is also unclear why a beauty pageant concerned about the environment would apparently pander to mainland Chinese sensitivities concerning the definition of Taiwan.

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