Miss World Canada. Award-winning actor. Human rights advocate. Anastasia Lin shatters simplistic categories. With characteristic intelligence—and with rare bravery—she commands global attention for her outspoken stand against persecution around the world. And as an artist pushing back against powerful interests, she reminds us that mere belief is not enough—we must live our values, every day.
Anastasia Lin is an award-winning actress, beauty pageant titleholder, and human rights advocate. In 2015, Lin won the Miss World Canada title, and was to represent Canada at the Miss World pageant in China. However, she was refused a visa and declared a persona non grata by Chinese authorities for her outspoken views on the country’s human rights violations and persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.
The news of her rejection—and subsequent attempt to enter China—caused global media attention for weeks, leading to a front page article in The New York Times and op-eds in major newspapers. Since then, “media outlets the world over have sought out Lin to discuss her viewpoints on China’s abuse of its citizens’ freedoms and rights” (Quartz). She has been invited to speak at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, the Oxford Union, and the Geneva Human Rights Summit at the UN, and has testified in the US Congress, the UK Parliament, and the Taiwanese Legislative Assembly.
“Ms. Lin, it turns out, has become a public-relations nightmare for Beijing … She is also charismatic, canny and media-savvy. Her David-and-Goliath clash with the Chinese government has drawn sympathetic media attention and legions of supporters around the world, providing her an even bigger platform to speak out about the imprisonment and torture Falun Gong adherents face in China.”— The New York Times
Lin has appeared in over 20 films and television productions. She often works at the confluence of activism and acting, playing roles that carry messages of freedom, human rights, and ethics. Her films have received the Gabriel Award for Best Feature Film, the Mexico International Film Festival’s Golden Palm Award, and the California’s Indie Fest Award of Merit. Lin also won the Best Leading Actress in a TV Movie at the Leo Awards in 2016. As a model, she’s made appearances on runways around the world, including the New York Fashion Week show at the prestigious Waldorf-Astoria.
Lin has been listed as one of the “Top 25 under 25” by MTV, a “Top 60 under 30” by Flare, and called “The Badass Beauty Queen” by Marie Claire. She was one of eleven stakeholders selected to meet with Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird upon the establishment of Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom. Her articles have appeared in The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, and other major publications.
The Badass Beauty Queen Upholding Your Values, No Matter the Cost
How do we live our values when our careers, relationships, and wellbeing become jeopardized as a result? These were the circumstances facing Anastasia Lin, Miss World Canada 2015 and 2016, who took up the mantle against human rights abuses perpetrated by the Chinese government. Through all of her trials—being blacklisted from entering the country, threatened by Chinese officials, enveloped in media chaos, and silenced unfairly during the 2016 competition—she remained a model of composure, drive, and steadfast resilience. Lin’s saga is one of extraordinary action taken by an ordinary individual, and in this talk, she reminds us that we are all capable of the same. Defending your beliefs—whether speaking truth to power, or simply raising your voice where you can—is a skill we would all do well to master. Whether talking to college groups or corporate audiences, CEOs or activists, Lin’s message is crystal clear: “Silence helps no one.”
Miss World, Advocate Anastasia Lin’s Fight for Human Rights and Freedoms in China
In 2015, the Communist Party of China prevented Anastasia Lin from entering the country as Miss World Canada—and began to threaten her father, still a resident of Hunan—as a response to her public stand against human rights violations. Unsurprisingly, this triggered a flurry of media attention: how could an enormous state like China be so intimidated by a young beauty pageant contestant from Toronto? And what was so controversial about Lin’s opinions?
Despite China’s intimidation tactics, Lin remains outspoken, and defiant. A remarkable advocate for human rights—full of bravery, poise, and undeniable passion—Lin cuts through confusion and propaganda to talk on the real story of state-sanctioned corruption. In particular, Lin speaks out against the abuse of peaceful Falun Gong practitioners, Tibetans, and the Uyghurs community; the physical and psychological torture—and covert organ harvesting—of political prisoners; and the government’s ongoing repression of pro-democratic organizers. She uses her platform to amplify the voices of crushed dissidents to shine a spotlight on bias, cover-up, and conspiracy. To watch Lin is to witness a woman of rare commitment: someone who, quite literally, is risking far more than most of us ever will to make a principled stand.
This is a must-see keynote for all groups concerned with freedom and liberty. As she says, with characteristic lucidity: “Freedom comes when we stop accepting tyranny and challenge those who would preserve it.”