After the barnstorming success of Super Girls, the Chinese version of the
poplular U.S. TV show "American Idol", another U.S. reality show -- "I Want a
Famous Face" -- has arrived in living rooms across the land and is generating
even more controversy.
A competitor in
China's first artificial beauty pageant receives final touches before the
opening presentation in Beijing December 12, 2004. The finals for Miss
Artificial Beauty are due to be held Saturday December 18, 2004, when
contestants ranging from 17 to 62 years-old will parade their surgical
nips and tucks-- enhancements once banned in beauty contests. Cosmetic
surgery has become popular in China.
by MTV China at 10 p.m. every evening from September 4 to September 25, the show
describes cosmetic surgery that may involve anything from cutting human skin to
Candidates for the surgery are on a quest for beautiful celebrity-like faces
but achieving that goal can be painful and the reality show is proving highly
"Cosmetic surgery, like any kind of surgery, includes bloody scenes that can
frighten medical students and even surgeons, let alone ordinary viewers," said
Nin Fumin, a cosmetic surgeon in a Guangzhou-based hospital.
Nin's remarks were echoed by Cai Fangming, head of the Shuguang Hospital in
Guangzhou, who recommended stricter viewer guidelines.
Sina.com, one of the major news websites in China, reported cameramen
fainting while shooting scenes in the operating theater.
MTV China has already blurred images on the screen and issued warnings about
bloody scenes during the show. It has also avoided peak viewing time for
Other cosmetic surgeons fear that, even though it is popular with viewers,
the show will drive away potential customers.
"I know a girl who saw surgery being done on someone else and then refused to
undergo an operation for double-fold eyelid she had asked for," said Liang
Wenbo, director of Yinhang Hospital in Guangzhou.
"In fact, double-fold eyelid surgery is the simplest operation in cosmetic
surgery. I don't know if anyone will want to undergo cosmetic surgery after
seeing what it is like on the screen," Liang said.
"Creating beauty is not necessarily a beautiful process," he added.
Despite the misgivings of surgeons, ordinary viewers in China have welcomed
the new show.
A teacher called Hu from Guangdong Province said the reality show portrayed
the reality of cosmetic surgery and what it can do for patients.
"The show gives people a chance to think twice before leaping into the
surgery room," Hu said.
"The shows are very different from TV advertisements, which only show the
positives. This show tells us lots of patients suffer pain and some of them have
encountered disasters like losing their girlfriend or their job after surgery,"
China issued a circular effective November 1 banning Chinese newspapers and
magazines from publishing misleading advertisements about cosmetic surgery
operations such as breast enlargement.
Other reality shows about cosmetic surgery, such as the Chinese version of
U.S. "The Swan" screened by China Entertainment Television Broadcast Ltd., have
also been popular and controversial.