Debate rages online over photos of Miss Vietnam 2006

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A number of photos featuring Mai Phuong Thuy, Miss Vietnam 2006 in a white, somewhat transparent ao dai dress appeared online last week, creating an uproar among netizens.

The photos in question were taken by photographer Quoc Huy four years ago and posted online February 3 by a web site that claimed to "honor the beauty of Vietnamese women in traditional dress."

The incident has divided the Internet community into two groups with opposite opinions. The first group argues that by posing for the sexy photos, Mai Phuong Thuy has damaged the Ao Dai, a symbol of the gentle and pure beauty of Vietnamese women. The second group feels the photos are tasteful and artistic.

On February 7, Mai Phuong Thuy sent an email to the web site which posted the photos. She apologized, explaining that the photo shoot took place when she was only 19 or 20 years old, unaware of the issues at stake and that she erred in her judgment.

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