“From posters at bus stops and in subway, to introductions on social websites and content platforms, from advertisements planted in films and television variety shows, to promotions by live-streamers, medical beauty advertisements are overwhelmingly pervasive,” the People’s Daily newspaper said in a commentary article published on its website.
The newspaper said some ads associate good looks with “high-quality”, “diligence” and “success”, fabricating stories about “plastic surgery changing one’s destiny” and distorting aesthetic perceptions.
The criticism of the sector comes as Chinese regulators have wielded a wide-ranging crackdown on industries from technology to education to property to strengthen their control over the economy and society after years of runaway growth.
The spate of regulatory activity has raised investors’ concerns over which sectors might come under scrutiny next.
In August, China‘s market regulator drafted guidelines to regulate the medical aesthetics sector’s advertising practices, saying that they were prompting societal anxiety over people’s looks.
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The metaverse, a term coined in science fiction in 1992, has been all over the news recently thanks to the proliferation of virtual worlds online and a boom in cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens.
Demand for plastic surgery or medical aesthetic treatment has boomed in China in recent years with procedures to make one’s eyes wider or nose higher among the most popular. However, they have been criticised for failing to caution people about risks.
In July, a 33-year-old online influencer died from complications after a botched liposuction procedure in a case that was widely reported by media in China.