The dark side reflected by 'internet celebrity face'#China Newsweek#-Sino-US

Path: Sino-US >> Cover Story>> 2018 >>
The dark side reflected by 'internet celebrity face'

A latest news said that fake beauty products, including fake botox injections and hyaluronic acid, worth over 38 million yuan ($6 million) were seized and 34 suspects were arrested in East China’s Jiangsu province.

The case partially shows the country’s booming beauty industry has lots of problems while it sees double digital growth annually. Unqualified beauty parlors and medics also flooded the market to meet huge demands for beautiful faces.

“Internet celebrity face” has been a representative of the trend for people seeking to become more beautiful in the internet era. Chinese people could easily figure out the traits of internet celebrity face that come from the plastic surgery.

In the 20th issue of 2018, China Newsweek magazine ran a cover story on the current situations of the country’s beauty industry, analyzing reasons for the huge demands on beauty and chaos of the plastic surgery sector.

Below is an excerpt of the article.

Doe eyes, a high nose, fair skin and pointy chin have become the symbols of the internet celebrities in China in recent years, and Chinese web users have a typical name to describe such appearance as internet celebrity face.

Not knowing from when, the internet celebrity face has become a derogatory word for people’s attractive appearance because of plastic surgery. However, the aesthetic preference with Chinese characteristics has quietly infiltrated into life.

Industry insiders said that the internet celebrity face first appeared online around 2014, following the promotion of online celebrities, most of who are online live hosts and have the appearances of the typical symbols.

Women having “Barbie” eyes, prominent cheekbones and petal lip led the fashion online following the rising of online live platforms. They became “celebrities” to date with stars and “fuerdai,” second generation of rich.

As a representative symbol of the internet celebrity business, the internet celebrity face has become not only a fashion trend in the country, and it is deeply connected with technology, aesthetic standards, business and desire.

Morbid fascination

Many women followed the trend, hoping to become more beautiful through receiving plastic surgeries, and then they could also become celebrities and earn more money.

Fenxiong, a well-known Sina Weibo account, said that there are many women having such appearances, and the first batch of them could be heated because of the social media network was in a rising period.

“Many immature young women seem to get possessed by the illusion that when they have the faces, like that of Angelababy or Gulnazar, they would become internet celebrity and earn money easily,” Fenxiong said.

Guo Shuzhong, an orthopedics expert from the Chinese Medical Association, said that Chinese people love to become more beautiful because of the popularity of mercantilism and fierce competition in the society.

Li Zhanqiang, a doctor from Plastic Surgery Hospital (or Badachu Hospital) in Beijing, said that businessmen have made the plastic surgery into a business, raising public attention through marketing to attract consumers.

“The phenomenon of internet celebrity face is a chaos of social morbid aesthetics in the internet video era, and the institutions making such face have worsened the situation,” said Li Bin, chairman of BeauCare Clinics.

In Li’s view, the plastic surgery industry was at a period of seeking for short-period interests in the past two decades, and some institutions have violated the principles of the plastic surgery as a medical act.

There are more medical products and advanced technology in the plastic surgery field, but the morality has not improved to a high level, still focusing on interests, Li said, and aesthetic standards and value standards has not improved.

The people who would receive plastic surgery are usually picky, having high demands on themselves, and they are not satisfied with the results, because they did not have the reasonable expectations, Li said.

“They hope to be as handsome as Huang Xiaoming or beautiful as Angelababy through small plastic surgery, but it is impossible,” Li said.

People went to hospital would like to see a senior doctor for their diseases, but when they go for plastic surgery, they only asked about the price and discount, said Wang Jigeng , an expert of plastic surgery in Beijing.

As a special group, people seeking to be more beautiful have similar psychology, and an experienced doctor would know who has developed into a morbid fascination with beauty and have ways to treat with them, Li said. It is not only the responsibility of consumers, he said.

“It is most important is that you must know clearly that who will use the knife and needle when you are on the bed, no matter who received you,” Wang said.


Plastic Surgery Hospital, the country’s first hospital focusing on plastic surgery established in 1957, and Beijing Huangsi Plastic Surgery Hospital, established in 1984, are among the first batch of the country’s plastic surgery.

Doctors in these hospitals eyed on patients of congenital malformation or acquired trauma and never thought their technology could used for healthy people who seeking for more beautiful appearance.

Things started to change around 2000 when Wu Jianwei, a businessman from Putian, Fujian province, established a cosmetic surgery department at a hospital in Chengdu, Sichuan province.

The hydrophilic polyacrylamide gel (Amazingel) as soft tissue filling agent in plastic surgery has brought Wu the first bucket of gold, and he soon extended its chain business.

Businessmen from Putian followed Wu’s steps in the plastic surgery sector, and according to industry data, around 80 percent of medical plastic institutions are operated by these businessmen.

The market-oriented operation model created by Wu has led the success of Putian businessmen, said Li Zhanqiang. Wu brought in the customer relationship management system, setting consultants and operators, and the plastic surgery is not only a medical thing, but a business, he said.

There are about 8 to 10 percent of the whole population in developed countries to receive plastic surgery, and there is only one percent of Chinese population, but China is still the second largest market of plastic surgery.

Both inside and outside the industry are exhilarated and coveted, and the flourishing industry would become chaotic with kinds of problems, and the “black” (illegal) clinic is one of the problems.

According to the application Gengmeng that focuses on plastic surgery, there are only 9,500 registered clinics, but the illegal ones are six times of the registered ones, about 60,000.

These illegal clinics are usually in small scale, hiding in beauty parlors, residential buildings and hotels. The amount of plastic surgery handled by illgal clinics is 2.5 times of registered clinics, and there are 150,000 illegal medics, 9 times of the registered medics.

It is noteworthy that many Chinese seeking to be more beautiful would trust foreign clinics, but in fact, 90 percent of these foreign clinics in China are illegal. For example, there are about 100 South Korean medics in Beijing, but only 10 registered.

Besides the illegal clinics, another phenomenon is worthy to be paid attention to. When the lack of professional doctors could not meet the demands of increasing institutions, institutions used the doctor’s licenses to cheat for registration.

Li Bin said that though there is no detailed figure, industry insiders believed that the number of registered professional doctors in the sector is even less than the registered clinics.

Though such registered clinics are legal, but they do not have registered doctors, and only nurses, or illegal doctors, would operate surgery for people, Li said.

Many people who received plastic surgery but failed or not satisfied with the results will go to hospitals for facial repair.

A big reason for the facial repair is because of the black clinics, and a beautician might only practise needling on chicken wings for about 100 days, and then they would work on people’s face, Li said. A professional doctor should have received training at least ten years before they get the license, he said.

Even registered doctors, there are still two major reasons might cause the “failure”, said Wang Jigeng, an expert of plastic surgery.

One is that doctors are experienced at different levels, and the other is that doctors hardly to say no even when people not suitable for surgery because of hospital’s requirements on their profit performance, Wang said.

Li Zhanqiang has received some young women who would like to be an internet celebrity through plastic surgery, and he refused some excessive demands. “Now, the whole society is crazy for plastic face, and institutions should be blamed for their promotion, but fundamentally, I feel the society is ill.”

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