BEIJING - A live broadcast of breast augmentation surgery in South China that appeared online over the weekend has caused some controversy around China.
The surgery on Wen Liuhuan, a part-time model and freshman at Guangxi University, was done at the Huamei Cosmetic and Surgery Clinic in Nanning, capital of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
A video of the one-hour operation appeared on the clinic's website on March 18 showing Wen's barely blurred breasts .
The clinic revealed Wen's identity and described her feelings, as well as pre-op preparations, and comments of experts explaining the procedure.
Wen openly stated that she had reached an agreement with the hospital about the broadcast: "I believe the medical procedure will achieve better results with public supervision."
But the degree of openness led to questions about the ethics and morality of the approach, in a country where public nudity is still largely taboo.
Still, one Web user, Xiao Yu, was quoted by the China News Service as saying, "I can't help admiring the courageous girl. However, I guess she might be part of a test in a commercial trial."
Some people said they were angry about the clinic's sensationalism in trying to make a name for itself.
Clinic director Li Xinsen, speaking on the video, said simply: "The live broadcast was an attempt to give the public a deeper, more rational understanding of plastic surgery."
However, some lawyers said that the clinic should think more carefully about the broadcast and about what kind of surgery is suitable.
"A video of surgery might be useful for hospitals as a record or for teaching or supervision, but it's improper to show it on the Internet for people of all ages," said Yi Shenghua, at Beijing's Yingke Law Firm.
"Breast enlargement is an unusual area and a live broadcast of it might go against public order, and overstep the line of traditional values," Yi commented.
"Moreover, if the operation was broadcast for commercial purposes rather than for education, it is fairly inappropriate for the clinic to use such an immature girl, who might not have clearly considered the consequences of her action," he added.
Some gender studies people, however, said the idea that it is humiliating to expose a woman's body is a kind of prejudice.
"To some extent, it's a good thing to get rid of the long-standing preconceptions [like that]," said Li Xia, an anthropologist working in women's studies and senior editor at the Commercial Press.