CHINA / National

Disqualified Miss Universe tells the story
Updated: 2006-04-01 17:33

The disqualified "winner" of the "Miss Universe" competition in China has lashed out at the organizers.

Twenty-two-year-old Qi Fang, a junior university student awarded the title of "Miss Universe China" on March 23, fending off challenges from 48 other candidates, was only to see the title being taken away from her six days after a so-called violation of the rules of her contract.

Qi Fang
In response, Qi has revealed to media the rules of the contract that "astonished" her. The rules, drawn up by the local organizer, required Qi to disclose all details of her relatives and friends, and to meet with her parents and even her boyfriend with an appointed assistant by her side.

"What is most intolerable is that they said I should sleep with the assistant in a single room," Qi said, adding the organizer even refused to offer her the original text of the contract.

After Qi raised her doubt and objection over the rules, the local organizer deleted the relevant content from the contract yet moved onto another regulation on March 28.

With the threat of her title being taken away, Qi signed the contract. But she immediately regretted her decision and requested further discussions. Several hours later, Qi's title was canceled.

"It is common practice that a broker in beauty contests hires a bodyguard and an assistant for the winner, but no such rules have ever been seen before," said Yang Su, a veteran broker in the star-making industry. On March 1, he quitted from the "Miss Universe" China Company Ltd. as executive director.

"Miss Universe", one of the three most renowned beauty contests, was initiated in the United States some 50 years ago. The annual contest is designed to show and highlight the beauty, intelligence and love of women worldwide.

Yang Su participated in the whole course of the selection in China last year. "The champion last year did not sign any additional contract, only a contract clarifying her duty and rights," he said.

He pointed out that the dispute between the two sides reflects a disordered trade in beauty contests, and also the lack of regulations and supervision. According to him, China so far has no relevant trade organizations or regulations.

A local lawyer unwilling to give his name said that there are some flaws in the making and signing the contract.

Although there are no specific statistics on the commercial value of the beauty contest, the insiders believed that the beauty industry represented by model contest generated no less than 5 billion yuan (around 600 million U.S. dollars) annually, which explains why China has seen a booming beauty industry.

According to Yang Su, the local organizer was registered in Hong Kong and permitted by the U.S. headquarters to run the "Miss Universe" regional contest on the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macao.

Latest reports say the organizers have given the championship to Gao Yinghui, the original second prize winner of the contest. This means that Gao will replace Qi to attend the global contest on behalf of China.