Thor Halvorssen has spent his life refusing to be quiet on human rights around the world. As the founder of the Human Rights Foundation, he has supported many people around the globe who have boldly spoken out even when it meant that they might be killed. His Oslo Freedom Forum is an example of how he encourages people to get their message out. Therefore, he was particularly concerned when the World Beauty Pageant refused to let Canadian Anastasia Lin speak her mind.
The problem first occurred when she chose to speak out about human rights violations in China. The 2015 contest was held in China where her father resides. The country refused to let Anastasia in, and the country refused to let her father out to see his daughter by holding him against his will. The World Beauty Pageant promised her a consolation prize, however, by promising she could participate without in the 2016 event in Washington if she would promise to be quiet.
Anastasia was born in China’s Hunan province. As she matured, she was forced to join the Young Pioneers. It was her job to encourage other children to watch Chinese propaganda films. It was not until she moved to Canada at the age of 13 that she realized that there was a different way of life. Now, she considers it her responsibility to get the message out.
For their part, the World Beauty Pageant denies that they ever told her she had to be quiet. Thor believes that the World Beauty Pageant may have caved into the same pressure felt by many companies who want to do business in China to keep their mouths shut.
Thor encourages everyone to keep constant watch on corporations who are caving into this pressure because freedom of speech is a universal right.