Beauty pageants are scandalous. We’re not talking that-contestant-posed-naked scandalous, we’re talking full on, world conflict scandalous. And the controversy swirling around last weekend’s Miss World pageant makes Miss Congeniality‘s premise seem small time.
Miss USA Alexandria Mills took the Miss World crown, but many are outraged that she won over heavily favored Miss Norway Mariann Birkedal. Who do they think is to blame for this oversight? Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, that’s who. Confused? Allow us to explain.
For the fifth time in eight years, the competition was held on the Chinese island of Hainan. The host country apparently has a lot of pull, as evidenced by the fact that Taiwan was not allowed to compete since China does not recognize it as an independent country. In addition, the Chinese audience froze out Miss Japan as a way of “protesting Japan’s claim to the Diaoyu Islands, a group of uninhabited rocks coveted for fishing and mineral rights.”
This year’s pageant was actually supposed to be held in Vietnam but it was moved because “the location was an ecological heritage zone and local residents had allegedly been forcibly moved from their land.” Whoa. Heavy issues for a beauty pageant, eh?
Well, it gets crazier. As per the Daily Mail:
According to reports last night, observers speculated the judges bowed to pressure from Beijing, which is involved in a bitter international spat with Norway.
China is said to be furious after the Oslo-based Nobel Peace Prize committee awarded the coveted prize to the jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo earlier this month.
Before the results were announced, Miss Norway was the shortest-priced favourite in Miss World history at 6/5, while Miss USA lagged behind at 7/1. Miss England Jessica Linley, a 21-year-old law student from Nottingham, was an even longer 50/1 shot.
Kathrine Sorland, a Norwegian TV personality who came fourth in Miss World 2002, said she believed China’s fury at the Nobel Peace Prize committee had influenced the outcome.
“I was sure she would win,” she said. ‘They must have mixed politics and business. Without jumping to conclusions I would stress that Miss World competitions have always been political. And the relations between China and Norway are very strained at the moment.”
Xiaobo is currently a political prisoner in China, and is a noted human rights activist who called for the end of China’s one-party rule. He won the Nobel Prize for “for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.”
So now that you have all the facts, you should also know that Miss Norway is being a gracious loser: “I have been very careful with speculating about that myself. It is kind of stupid to start thinking that if this or that had not occurred I would perhaps have been Miss World 2010. I do believe everything happens out of a reason.”
Whew. Take a minute to digest that all, and then let us know what you think in the comments.
[via Daily Mail]