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REMADE IN CHINA

01/02/2012

CHINA

Cosmetic surgery is a growth industry in China, as women flock to clinics to have their features westernised, their breasts enlarged ands their stomachs flattened.

Men too are going under the knife, although in smaller numbers. Last year, Chinese people spent up to $3billionon operations aimed at altering the way they look.

(*Warning: NSFW!)

Their motivation is not only to attract partners but also to impress employers.

The explosion of interest in cosmetic surgery in China is a marker for the rapid changes occurring in the society.

Until the early 1980s, plastic surgery was outlawed. Under Mao Zedong, the fashion was for conformity rather than individuality, as both men and women wore camouflaging blue workers’ suits and caps.

Even lipstick was unavailable; the daring used red paper to colour their lips but risked censure for doing so.

Now, a new generation of Chinese consumers is embracing not just western fashions but western ideas of beauty too.

Shopping centres are stocked with designer clothes that could hang on rails anywhere; news-stands feature European and American lifestyle and beauty titles, alongside home-grown imitators.

In the Chinese plastic surgery market, clients mainly get what they pay for. At the top end of the market, the creation of a double eyelid – one of the most popular procedures – costs up to $400.

Surgeons from South Korea are favoured by those who can afford them; training there is better regulated and South Korean films and music videos are influential among aspirational young Chinese people.

At the bottom end of the market, untrained and unlicensed practitioners serve queues of patients from backstreet premises, often rooms above beauty salons.

The Chinese Consumers Association fields up to 20,000 complaints a year, about botched or disfiguring operations.

Some have suffered more than disfigurement.

Most Chinese women look nothing like the fair-skinned, round-eyed stereotype of European good looks that Chinese consumers are now being sold.

Surgeons have been quick to step in to the gap between the perceived ideal and reality…

China already has around 1million cosmetic surgery clinics, employing 6million people, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

Despite the ruined lives of some patients, the boom looks set to continue.

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Source: Mike Goldwater

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