Cosmetic surgery has been popular for years in China – to the extent that in 2004, the country hosted a beauty pageant specifically for those who had gone under the knife.
Procedures are particularly prevalent among young people. The South China Morning Post newspaper said in 2019 that nearly two-thirds of the 20 million people who underwent procedures the previous year were under 30, and “one in five were [pre-millennials],” under the age of 21.
The paper said that many high-school graduates chose to “go under the knife before starting university, believing it will improve their chances at work and in love.”
But the growing demand for procedures has led to clinics operating without certificates or hiring unqualified surgeons. China’s State Council said in April that it had “detected signs of a rise of violations” across the country and reiterated the necessity for operations to be carried out by “licensed medical staff.”