Miss China won Miss World 2007 in Sanya, China, yesterday, much to the delight of a partisan audience. Miss Angola came second and Miss Mexico third at the beauty pageant, held on the southern holiday island of Hainan. Two billion people in 200 countries were expected to tune in to watch the show, which saw Miss China take the crown ahead of 106 of the world’s most beautiful and talented women. The 57th edition of the contest was held on World AIDS Day as organisers wanted the annual showcase of gloss and glitz, seen by critics as a sexist throwback, to help increase awareness of the fight against HIV/AIDS. Hometown fans were cheering on Miss China — Zhang Zi Lin, a 23-year-old secretary from Beijing — hoping she could live up to her billing as one of the pre-contest favourites and bring home the crown and she sure did. But Ada Aimee De La Cruz of the Dominican Republic was also hotly tipped by British bookmakers as the biggest threat among the 106 contestants. To underline their commitment to AIDS awareness, organisers had invited former South African president Nelson Mandela’s eldest daughter Maki to serve on the panel of judges. Among those countries not represented in Sanya were North Korea and Myanmar. Taiwan also did not have a contestant here, as Beijing considers Taiwan part of its territory.
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Zi Lin Zhang, from Beijing, beat the other 105 contestants to become the first Chinese winner and the 57th Miss World, waving elegantly to her fans as the result was announced in Sanya, China.
Her victory vindicated the decision of the Chinese government to lift its former ban on beauty contests and pay the organisers of the competition to host it for four out of the last five years
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