While Chinese officials make last-minute efforts to get Beijing up to scratch for the Olympic Games, a growing number of Chinese adolescents are concentrating on getting themselves in shape. A report from Guangzhou province says dozens of school children have been turning up at hospitals for cosmetic surgery since the beginning of July. They prefer to get procedures such as blepharoplasty (double eyelids), breast enlargements and liposuction during the summer when they have time to recover. A doctor at the Guangdong Armed Police Hospital said the youngest case he had seen was a girl of 13. Newly graduated junior middle or high school students change their looks to give them confidence when entering new schools.

And it’s not just girls who are trying to improve their looks and social advantage. The Guangzhou Modern Hospital plastic surgery centre said that about 20 per cent of people undergoing procedures there are men, up from five per cent a few years ago. “We do not recommend cosmetic surgery to people under 16 years old,” said a senior doctor, pointing out that their bodies are still developing. An expert on youth problems wants young people to understand that beauty is not just a matter of appearance, and that confidence and accomplishments are what make them truly attractive. Ah yes, but where does that confidence come from? ~ China Daily, July 23