This year’s 121 contestants will be vying for the crown at the Beauty Crown Grand Theatre. This is China’s sixth time hosting the event. At the end of the ceremony, current Miss World Rolene Strauss of South Africa will hand off her crown to her successor.
But not everything about the competition is coming up roses. The pageant came under international scrutiny this year after Canada’s Miss World entry, Anastasia Lin, was barred from obtaining a visa that would have allowed her into China to participate in the ceremony. Lin, 25, said she was denied the visa due to her vocal advocacy for human rights and religious liberties in China. She is a practitioner of the Falun Gong spiritual movement that China has decried as an “evil cult,” and said her family members in China have received threats in response to her criticism of the country’s human rights abuses.
“I have every right to be at that event,” she told the New York Times after attempting to fly to China in late November in time for the opening ceremony. “It’s kind of sad. I mean, I’m just an acting student and a beauty queen. What could they possibly be so afraid of?”
The Miss World contest launched in the United Kingdom in 1951, and is one of the oldest international beauty pageants. On Monday, the Miss World Organization revealed the Miss World 2015 Talent Fast Track winner: Lisa Punch of Guyana. Punch won Monday’s talent contest by performing an original song, "One Last Time," a tribute to her late cousin. Brynn Lovett of Malaysia and Sanneta Myrie of Jamaica came in second and third.