Miss Tibet: The Curious Case of Beauty Pageant Spies

Miss Tibet‘ 2015 winner Pema Choedon recently participated in an annual international beauty pageant called ‘Miss Global International‘ in which she represented Tibet. Although beauty pageants don’t typically raise geopolitical concerns, virtually any issue linked to Tibet almost always does. The Miss Tibet pageant became a clear example of this when both the 2005 and 2006 pageant winners were forced to pull out from an international beauty contest in Malaysia for refusing to wear a sash that replaced the “Miss Tibet” lettering with “Miss Tibet-China.”

Pema, an outspoken Tibetan woman well aware of the political climate surrounding Tibet, knew this and appreciated the platform that the Miss Tibet pageant provided. She was quickly reminded of this after participating in this year’s Miss Global International competition in Manila, Philippines.

In a Facebook post published on October 25, 2015, Pema claimed that “two suspicious men” began following her after she departed India for the Philippines. Recognizing the same two individuals at each airport during her travels from and to the Miss Global International pageant, she immediately observed that they “look[ed] like chinese spies.” After growing alarmed by their constant presence at each leg of her trip, she alleges that she had the local authorities at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, India take her home in an official police vehicle.

Although she reported the incident at the airport, Pema told TFC that she failed to obtain a photograph of the men because “at the last moment they ran away.” She further added that they didn’t like they were traveling because they had on the same clothes and carried no luggage when she saw them.

Note: If you have any information about this matter, please contact TFC or Pema Choedon directly.

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