Miss Taiwan, Beverly Chen (陳思羽), who accused China of bullying her this May at the Miss Universe contest in Panama City, admitted late Wednesday to have participated in a Guangzhou beauty contest last year.
"The contest was for all overseas Chinese," Chen said in a TV interview, when asked the reason why she took part in the beauty contest in China.
Wu Miao-ser (巫妙璱), Chen's mother, told the Taipei Times Chen joined a series of beauty pageants to raise her self-confidence.
PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES
The annual beauty pageant for overseas Chinese was held in Guangzhou for the first time last year. Competitors in the beauty pageant came from 19 cities worldwide.
Chen was among the 19 women selected in the pageant to be "Friendly Travel Ambassadors in Guangzhou."
At a news conference prior to a banquet held by the rotary clubs of Taipei's Lungmen and Shuangyuan districts where Chen was invited to be an ambassador for their charity activities, Chen gave a short interview to reporters to talk about her experiences at the Miss Universe contest..
An item on Chen's resume in brochures given out to reporters was crossed out.
The item was "Friendly Travel Ambassador for Guangzhou, 2002."
Wu said the item had been crossed out in order to prevent controversy.
Chen, who ranked seventh on the list of the 10 most popular contestants at the Miss Universe contest, returned to Taiwan on June 29.
Chen made headlines at the competition by challenging the demands of the contest organizers that she wear a sash describing her as Miss Chinese Taipei rather than Miss Taiwan.
Chen, 24, is currently a student at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia. She was Miss Chinese Melbourne in 2001.
Peter Wang (王正義), general manager of JANO Enterprise Inc, arranged Chen to be the two rotary clubs' charity ambassador.
When asked to comment on Chen's participation in the Guangzhou pageant, Wang said yesterday competitors in the pageant were from all over the world.
Wang noted there was nothing wrong about Chen's joining the beauty contest.
In the Wednesday press conference, Chen wore the Miss Taiwan sash she was not allowed to don at the Miss Universe contest.
Chen said that she had been saddened that the pageant authorities had succumbed to pressure from China on the sash issue.
Chen said the pageant authorities gave her two sashes, one read "Miss Taiwan" and the other "Chinese Taipei."
"I was told to wear the Chinese Taipei one in front of the media. The Miss Taiwan one was only for occasions where the media were absent," Chen said.
Chen recalled during the beauty contest, competitors were once arranged to meet Panama's President Mireya Moscoso.
"I put on the Miss Taiwan sash for the occasion. I thought the sash would be suitable for the occasion because Panama was one of Taiwan's allies," Chen said.
However, officials from the pageant authorities asked her to go to a vehicle parked outside and harshly demanded that she change her sash to the Chinese Taipei one, she said.
"The episode really saddened me," she said.
On May 23, a tearful Chen appeared in a press conference in the midst of the beauty contest to tell reporters the pageant authorities said she could no longer wear her Miss Taiwan sash.
She told reporters that due to pressure from China, the pageant authorities said she could only wear the Chinese Taipei sash.
Chen said in order to allow the beauty contest to continue peacefully, she decided to abide by the pageant authorities' request.
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