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Chinese politician quits beauty pageant after outcry

Yuan Jing, an ambitious 22-year-old lawmaker, has withdrawn from the "Miss Chinese International" beauty pageant following withering criticism from commentators online. She says she's dropping out due to time constraints.
/ Source: The Associated Press

An ambitious young Chinese politician has withdrawn from a Hong Kong beauty pageant following withering criticism from commentators online, state media reported Monday.

Yuan Jing, a member of Jiangsu province's rubber-stamp parliament, had been accused of conduct unbecoming a lawmaker and of exploiting her official titles in seeking the Miss Chinese International crown, Xinhua reported.

Yuan, who is also an alternate member of the Chinese Communist Youth League's Central Committee, said she was dropping out due to time constraints, Xinhua said.

Yuan, 22, said she had had reservations, but decided to participate anyway because “that's a dream cherished deep in the heart of every girl, I guess.”

Chinese have embraced beauty contests with gusto since communist authorities began permitting them over the past decade.

Organized by Hong Kong television station TVB, Miss Chinese International draws contestants with Chinese backgrounds from around the world. Past winners have gone on to successful careers as entertainers and fashion models.

Yuan had been ranked second on the contests online preselection, Xinhua said.

She defended listing her official titles on her online introduction, saying she hoped it would give her an advantage over the competition.

“Contestants naturally would try all means to win votes. Why can't I?” Xinhua quoted her as saying.