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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 August, 2004, 02:38 GMT 03:38 UK
China to hold fake beauty pageant
Miss China, Qi Guan, who came third in Miss World 2003
Natural beauties like Miss China Qi Guan will not be eligible
Plastic surgeons around the world are being given the chance to show off their talents, in a new artificial beauty pageant in China.

A contest will be held in October among women who have undergone cosmetic surgery, according to state media.

It will be open to any woman who can prove her beauty is man-made.

Plastic surgery is on the increase in China, China Daily newspaper said, with around 20bn yuan ($2.4bn) spent yearly on beauty treatments.

The idea for "Miss Plastic Surgery" was reportedly born after a woman was barred from a traditional beauty contest after spending $13,000 on 11 cosmetic operations.

The paper said China now had a million beauty salons, employing six million people.

Their clients range from body-conscious teenage girls to women in their 30s seeking facial jobs and breast implants, it added.

The rise of the salons is based on the assumption that beauty is a route to success, China Daily said, citing findings by US economists which indicated that good looks increased overall hourly income by 5%.

China recently lifted a 54-year ban on beauty pageants, which the authorities used to see as bourgeois and decadent.

But the explosion of economic growth and the loosening of social controls of the past few years has led to a growing preoccupation with how people look.

The Miss World contest was held in China for the first time in 2003.

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