A Chinese city may ban children under 18 from undergoing nonessential cosmetic surgery, according to draft rules aimed at tackling the country's growing obsession with going under the knife.
Local officials at Guangzhou city say that the rules have been drawn up for the protection of minors as concerns grow about the dangers of plastic surgery in a country where every year three million people have operations to change their appearances, according to state-run newspaper China Daily.
If the law is passed later this year, it will also require parents of minors under 18 to consent to any cosmetic surgery for medical reasons before their children can undergo a surgery, according to a statement on the city's official website.
"If approved, the regulation will be the first rule that has addressed the issue of plastic surgery for under-18s in China," medical lawyer Zhao Yin said Wednesday, according to China Daily. She added that she hoped the cosmetic surgery laws be implemented across the country.
If approved, the laws will come into effect early next year.
Experts claim that young people in China are turning to cosmetic surgery because they have become increasingly obsessed with beauty.
"Cities nationwide have seen younger and younger people undergoing plastic surgery in recent years," Yang Jianguang, a law professor at Sun Yatsen University in Guangzhou told the China Daily. "In the pursuit of a fashionable or pretty look, these youngsters may make a ill-thought-out decision to undergo a procedure that could harm their health."
"It's worrying that some institutions are taking advantage of the trend to offer low-cost yet substandard surgeries to lure juveniles," Yang added.
The concern about the dangers and health consequences of plastic surgery heightened with the death of aspiring pop singer Wang Bei during a surgical operation in 2010.
In August the Ministry of Health urged local health officials to tighten controls on plastic surgery.
Experts say that the most popular treatments in China include nasal enlargement, eyelid surgery to make the eyes appear bigger and more "Western", liposuction, nose jobs and breast enhancement.