Beauty queen quits Miss Earth contest over Taiwan sash spat

By Joseph Yeh, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A Taiwanese contestant in the annual Miss Earth beauty pageant has dropped out of the international competition and returned to Taiwan after the organizer forced her to replace a sash that said “Taiwan R.O.C.” with one reading “Chinese Taipei.” In a Facebook post made last Friday, Ting Wen-yin (丁文茵), who represented Taiwan in the pageant this year held in Vienna, expressed gratitude to those who supported her during the incident. Citing a Facebook post from Taiwan’s Chinese International Beauty Pageants Association (中華國際選美發展交流協會) that sent her to the contest in the first place, Ting confirmed she had dropped out of the contest. In the post, the association said it decided to call Ting back due to the “disrespect” the event organizers showed her during the event. Ting and the association also thanked Taiwan’s representative office in Austria, which helped her communicate with the Miss Earth organizers. Ting said she is preparing for her upcoming contests, saying that she will continue to do her best for Taiwan. According to Ting, she originally wore a sash given by the event organizers that said “Taiwan, R.O.C.” when she arrived in Vienna on Nov. 17.

However, the pageant organizers later asked her to replace the sash with a “Chinese Taipei” sash. The organizers claim that Taiwan has always participated in the event under the name Chinese Taipei, and they warned that she must accept the change or face being forced to withdraw from the competition, Ting said in her previous Facebook posts. The Taiwanese claimed the organizers’ move was due to pressure from mainland China. Taiwan’s Foreign Minister later confirmed that Ting was forced to change her sash due to Chinese pressure. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Eleanor Wang yesterday told The China Post that Taiwan’s representative office in Austria had received a phone call from the association on Nov. 23, asking for assistance to communicate with Miss Earth organizers over the sash incident. The representative office immediately sent a section chief and two secretaries to accompany Ting to engage in talks with a representative of the contest, Lorraine Schuck, on the same day. On Nov. 24, Schuck phoned the representative office and said Ting had decided to withdraw from the contest. Ting also sent an email to the office confirming her departure, Wang said. The office later accompanied Ting to the airport on Nov. 25. Ting ultimately returned to Taiwan on Nov. 27.