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Miss China Wins Miss World Pageant


23-year-old Zhang Zilin, who holds the title Miss China, has won the Miss World pageant, with Miss Angola and Miss Mexico the top runners-up.

The 57th Miss World contest was held at Sanya, a tourist resort in southern China's Hainan province, with the final round of judging Saturday. The program included messages aimed at increasing public awareness of the dangers of AIDS and HIV, in honor of World AIDS Day.

Zhang, a secretary, was the pre-pageant favorite to win the title. As the tallest woman in the competition at 182 centimeters, she made a wry reference to her height and China's huge population during the interview phase of the pageant, saying she felt strong support because "there are 1.3 billion people behind me."

As part of the pageant's AIDS prevention theme, Nelson Mandela's grandson Mandla Mandela introduced a video of the former South African president's message for World AIDS Day. The Nobel laureate's daughter, Maki, was one of the competition's nine judges.

Nelson Mandela's son Makgatho died of AIDS-related illness in 2005.

Organizers say the Miss World competition was broadcast worldwide to an enormous potential audience.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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