Beijing critic taking part in student debate despite Chinese Embassy 'concern'

A student debate about China will go ahead despite an embassy official's request to bar a well-known critic of the Beijing government from taking part, the union president said.

Anastasia Lin, 27, was expected to speak at the Durham Union Society event on Friday evening at Durham University, where she will debate the motion This House Sees China As A Threat to the West.

The human rights advocate was born in China but represented Canada in the Miss World contest after moving there as a child.

She was not allowed in to the country when the competition was held in China in 2015.

Durham Union Society president Tom Harwood said an official from the Chinese Embassy called the organisation, asking for her not to be allowed to speak.

"They expressed concern over Anastasia Lin coming," he said.

"We made it clear that it is a debate, there are two sides and the motion does not represent the views of the Union Society.

"There are illustrious speakers on both sides."

Former foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind will also speak at the debate.

Mr Harwood said the university has not intervened in the issue.

He expected the debate to pass without incident, saying: "I think it will go smoothly.

"Everyone has been very polite."