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TV channels don't carry Miss World live

Despite being the host of the 53rd Miss World pageant, some 1.3 Billion Chinese were not privy to the show.

india Updated: Dec 06, 2003 20:21 IST

Despite being the host of the 53rd Miss World pageant, some 1.3 Billion Chinese were not privy to the show, which was watched by an estimated two billion world-wide audience.

None of China's state-run television stations monitored here in the Chinese capital telecast the two-hour programme beamed live throughout the world from Sanya, a picturesque city in south Chinese island province of Hainan.

The official website of the Miss World 2003 event has not mentioned a single Chinese television channel that will show the pageant.

Wang Li, a Chinese college student, said she was disappointed that she could not watch the grand show live.

"I wish I could see it live and not part of it at a later date when we know the results," wang said.

The state-run Xinhua news agency has also kept a low profile by not releasing news and views of the contest, held for the first time in the Communist nation.

The Miss World contest is China's first international-level beauty pageant and analysts say it marks a new high point in the country's pursuit of glamour ahead of hosting the Olympics in 2008 in Beijing.

However, opinions on pageants in China differ greatly and have triggered heated debates due to ideological and other reasons. Most sponsors of pageants make alternative names, trying to avoid the word "pageant."

Chinese economists, quoted by the People's Daily website, summarise pageant as 'four wins'.

First, the audience are happy to see beauties; second, pageant helps boost the upstream economy for it needs the cooperation from peripheral industries; third, pageant promotes the fame of the sponsors and their supporters, and thus makes their products more popular; and fourth, pageant cultivates the temperament of the contestants propelling the development of culture industry.

How Chinese people view pageants can be gauged from a net questionnaire conducted by portal web sites Sohu and Sina.

According to the latest statistics, 27 per cent of the netizens regard pageant as a demand for the development of the market economy and 75 per cent of the netizens support China to take part in international pageants.

Shao Zhong, a famous columnist in Hong Kong and member of the evaluation committee of the 53rd edition, said Miss World held in China indicates that the country's image and economic development have won attention and respect from the international community.

The competition can also enhance the popularity of Sanya and Hainan as a whole, thus promoting the local tourism industry, Shao was quoted as saying by the 'People's Daily' website.

"Standards of beauty are changing," said one official at the National Women's Union, which used to be a major anti-pageant force. "In the past, contests were just for staring at women's faces and breasts. That's why we thought they were disgusting."