Beauty queen renamed

NEW NAME: Chen Szu-yu participated in the Miss Universe contest as Miss Taiwan, but interference from China means she now has a new official title


Fri, May 23, 2003 - Page 4

China has obstructed the participation of Taiwan's representative in the Miss Universe contest.

Chen Szu-yu (陳思羽), who registered with the Miss Universe contest authorities as "Miss Taiwan," was ordered to wear a name sash reading "Miss Chinese Taipei" on May 17 after Chinese authorities intervened.

Chen, 25, who is currently a student at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, arrived in Panama City on May 5 under the escort of Shih Huei (施慧), a chief supervisor with the Miss Taiwan Pageant Association.

Chen was Miss Chinese Melbourne in 2001.

Over the past two weeks, Chen, standing 170cm tall and weighing 50kg, was in the spotlight wherever she went, surpassing in popularity the Taiwan Friendship Fleet, which had made several port calls in Panama City before May 20.

As "Miss Taiwan Chen Szu-yu" had become a household name in Panama City, people there, including the media, were baffled and obviously had no idea what was going on when she appeared in the first formal stage activity last Saturday wearing a "Chinese Taipei" sash instead of "Miss Taiwan" one.

Chen argued tearfully with the pageant authorities for her "Miss Taiwan" sash, but failed. Having no choice, she appeared with the name that was changed without her consent and as a result of China's meddling.

The pageant authorities told Chen that she can wear her "Miss Taiwan" strip when she is not on stage. This makes her the only contestant at the Miss Universe pageant to have "dual nationality."

Shih said her company is planning to file a lawsuit against the Miss Universe pageant authorities for reneging on their contract that the two sides had signed, in which it was agreed that Chen was to take part in the pageant in her capacity as Miss Taiwan.

Meanwhile, Wang Weihua (王衛華), a Beijing official in Panama City, told the Panamanian media, "Beauty pageants are good activities, but we hate to see it when some people have their own axe to grind and exploit this opportunity to create `two Chinas' or `one China, one Taiwan.'"

Shih said it is as clear as day who is polluting the beauty pageant with political obstruction and who is "grinding an axe."

Shih said it's ironic that while the Chinese spare no efforts to obstruct Taiwan openly, they take advantage of the Taiwanese people whenever they can, including the fact that Miss China cannot even speak any English and had stuck to Chen like a shadow -- even when she was using the bathroom -- over the past several days.