Zhang Zilin
Representational: Miss World 2007 Zhang ZilinReuters

The organisers of the Miss World China pageant have cancelled the popular swimsuit round from the competition, citing respect for women and Chinese culture. 

The organising committee of the Miss World China contest has said that showing girls in 'underwear' is disrespectful to women and 'misleading in beauty pageant conception', China Daily reported.

The swimsuit round, in which contestants don bikinis, is common in most beauty pageants across the world. 

The cancellation of the bikini round has not cost the organisers any sponsors, the report said. 

The organisers have also delayed the Miss World China contest this year to change the criteria to select candidates for the beauty pageant. 

The pageant will highlight Chinese culture as one of the most important criterion this year, the organisers said. 

Experts will train the candidates in Chinese culture and etiquette, including reading of Chinese texts on Confucianism. 

The Miss World China final will be held in September, while the global Miss World finale will be held in Sanya, China on 19 December. 

It is not clear whether the swimsuit round will be scrapped from the final Miss World pageant also.