Newly-crowned Miss Tibet inspires women to stand up against China

Winner of Miss Tibet 2015, a beauty pageant held in India’s Himalayan foothill town of Dharamsala, hopes to inspire fellow Tibetan women-in-exile to stand up against Chinese rule.

DHARAMSALA, HIMACHAL PRADESH, INDIA (JUNE 07, 2015) (ANI) – A 24-year-old girl, who won the title at Miss Tibet 2015 beauty pageant in India’s northern hill town Dharamsala, said she wants to inspire Tibetan women to stand up against the Chinese government through her win.

Pema Choedon from northern Dehradun city was crowned the 13th Miss Tibet by last year’s winner, Tenzin Yangzom, in front of a huge crowd of at least 3,000 on Sunday (June 07).

Choedon, a literature student, said such contests empower young Tibetan women.

“Every girl, no matter how much they think they are ugly or how much they are insecure about their body, they should come to this platform and use it as a positive role model. They should show the world that even Tibetan women have lots of talents. It’s a rebel; it would be like a rebel against the Chinese government because it has the name Tibet,” she said amid tears of exuberance.

While Lobsang Kyizom from Nepal was judged the first runner-up, Tsering Dolma also from Nepal, was declared the second runner-up.

Director of the pageant, Lobsang Wangyal, presented gift cheques of rupees 100,000 rupees ($1558) to Choedon; rupees 50,000 ($779) to the first runner up and rupees 25,000 ($389) to the second runner up.

The pageant included five competition rounds called Talk, Talent, Gown, Traditional Costume, and Interview.

As per reports, it was judged by international women’s empowerment advocate and yoga trainer, Monika Nataraj and globetrotter Shawn Shaw.

The pageant was first held in 2002. The beauty contest in Dharamsala’s McLeodganj may attract a handful of contestants but also controversy.

The pageant celebrates Tibetan girls but also doubles up as promotion of the region’s struggle against Chinese rule.

China has ruled Tibet with an iron fist since troops “peacefully liberated” the region in 1950. The Dalai Lama fled into exile in India in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule.

The Dalai Lama denies espousing violence and says he only wants genuine autonomy for Tibet, though China has repeatedly said he is insincere.