Taipei, Nov. 24 (CNA) Taiwan's representative to Miss Earth 2015 expressed gratitude to her fans Tuesday after she was blocked from the pageant for refusing to wear a sash that read "Chinese Taipei" instead of the one marked "Taiwan R.O.C." that she wore.
"I feel very appreciative to all the persons who have encouraged me. Now that I have been suspended from the contest and have returned to my hotel, I have had more time to think it over," said 22-year-old Ting Wen-yin (丁文茵) in her Facebook post.
"Despite all these difficulties, I still feel grateful to this contest for making me become more mature and giving me a broader view of the world," she said.
Ting, who is representing Taiwan in the Miss Earth 2015 pageant in Vienna, Austria, revealed two days earlier that she originally wore a sash given by the organizers upon her arrival in Vienna that read "Taiwan R.O.C." -- referring to Taiwan's formal name, the Republic of China.
However, the organizers later asked Ting to replace her sash with another that read "Chinese Taipei" -- which has been used in most international competitions in recent years because of pressure from China -- claiming that the original sash was misprinted by the event staff, Ting said.
Insisting that she was born in Taiwan and represented Taiwan, Ting refused to change her sash and was banned from standing on stage at the pageant on Monday while photographers were not allowed to take her pictures, according to Ting.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Eleanor Wang (王珮玲) confirmed that Ting was forced to replace her sash due to pressure from China, which considers Taiwan as a province to be united with force if necessary.
Wang added that Taiwan's Chinese International Beauty Pageants Association (中華國際選美發展交流協會), which sent Ting to Vienna in the first place, told the ministry that Ting will continue to compete in the pageant under the name of Chinese Taipei, the newspaper said.
Founded in 2001, Miss Earth pageant is held to promote environmental awareness, empower women worldwide and support international environmental organizations.
This year's competition had 87 contestants in attendance and will run from Nov. 18 to Dec. 5, according to the event website. The winner of the Miss Earth beauty pageant will serve as the ambassador to environmental protection campaigns worldwide.
(By Jeffrey Wu)ENDITEM/ke