Monday, December 13, 2004

Plastic Fantastic

China will soon host the finals of the country's first beauty contest in which every contestant has gone under the knife. Twenty "man-made" beauties will parade their surgical nips and tucks next Saturday in the hope of taking home the country's first Miss Artificial Beauty crown.

Plastic surgery clinics offering everything from liposuction to eye re-modeling have mushroomed in major cities in China in recent years. Statistics from the China Plastic Cosmetology Committee show there are more than 10,000 medical institutions carrying out procedures throughout the country.

China's face-lifting industry started at the end of the 1940s and the beginning of the 1950s. During the first 20 years or so, plastic operations were by and large confined to wound treatments such as skin-graft after burns. The idea of beauty treatment wasn't introduced into China until the late 1970s.