China Is Leading the Way in Plastic Surgery Regulations
Imagine a world where teens are actually prohibited by law from fulfilling their disturbing perceptions of the perfect body via plastic surgery, and anyone caught helping a minor score a nose job, some ink or even a body piercing could face time in prison. Well, that world may not be as far away as you think! In this day and age, where teens’ celebrity role models order up a tummy tuck and nose job with their morning coffee, it’s no longer much of a surprise when a girl asks for a boob job for her 18th birthday instead of a car or a trip to Bali. In China however, a controversial new proposal would make it unlawful for minors in the Chinese city of Guangzhou to get plastic surgery or tattoos.
The proposed law is still being formulated and is set to take place in 2013, says Peng Qu, director of the Community and Rights Department in the Guangzhou Committee of the Chinese Communist Youth League. “Minors are going through a stage of growth and development and cosmetic surgery simply has a bad effect on teenage health.” So, you’re saying it’s not healthy for a 17-year-old girl to turn to plastic surgery to “fix” her body instead of being comfortable with her body image, or God forbid, doing the work it takes to remedy the issues she isn’t happy with? Go figure. The Chinese ban on cosmetic surgery is geared towards protecting the well-being of individuals under 18, as lawmakers fear plastic surgery and tattoos can adversely affect their mental health and distort their view of the world.
With the exception of Taiwan, no Chinese provinces or regions have issued plastic surgery regulations such as these, which makes the Guangzhou law virtually unprecedented in that region. In 2005, Taiwan established a progressive law that made it illegal for any person or agency to help Taiwanese teens get tattoos or body piercings. The law even stated that parents could pursue compensation from any tattoo artist caught facilitating a teen’s procurement of a tattoo, holding them accountable for laser-removal fees. And what do they get for a second violation? Up to three years in prison. Now that’s taking action, people!
The proposed law involving Guangzhou minors may have something to do with the largely unregulated cosmetic surgery industry in China. According to a random inspection of plastic surgery clinics in 2010, fewer than half of the clinics met national standards, and research shows that as many as 70% of China’s cosmetic procedures are performed in unlicensed salons. Let’s face it – cosmetic surgery is for life (and so are tattoos unless you choose to undergo the excruciatingly painful process of laser removal). How many people at 16, 17 or 18 really know what they are going to want on their bodies for the rest of their lives? As an adult, you’re regretting that butterfly tattoo you got as an act of teenage rebellion, aren’t you? Or was it a dragonfly?