Extra! On The Perils Of Low-Cost Plastic Surgery In China

Extra! On The Perils Of Low-Cost Plastic Surgery In China
Emeraude Monnier

Over the past decade, there have been countless reports about the boom in cosmetic surgery in Asian countries such as China, Japan and South Korea. Names have even been given to particular facial features in vogue, including the term "red net face," taken from the "red net" young female internet celebrities making a mark in China's popular culture.

These online superstars, including live-streamers, self-published writers, bloggers and assorted digital-minded fashionistas, tend to share a particular set of facial features: high cheekbones, big eyes, double eyelids, a narrow nose bridge and a V-shaped jawline. The overexposed digital stars often cover each step and slice of their plastic surgery across their social media accounts. But now, China Newsweek has featured a cover story this week about the downside of such body transformations, including pain, scars and the risk that operations are being illegally carried out in beauty salons by uncertified surgeons.

The Chinese-language magazine reports the case of Yang Jinwei, a young woman from Shanghai who fell into the trap of what is referred to as "aesthetic black medicine": While getting a haircut in a beauty salon, an instant low-cost rhinoplasty was suggested by her stylist. Having never liked the shape of her nose, Yang accepted and the surgery was performed with a simple injection to reshape it and no anesthesia or "cutting" was involved. But one week later, Yang Jinwei's nose skin started to bleach and turned into a scab, along with the injection propagating into her nasal mucous membranes.

As more and more young women fall into such traps, China Newsweek writes that "heaven is the most impartial judge" of the way we look.

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Migrant Lives

The Other Scandal At The Poland-Belarus Border: Where's The UN?

The United Nations, UNICEF, Red Cross and other international humanitarian organizations seems to be trying to reach the Polish-Belarusian border, where Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko is creating a refugee crisis on purpose.

Migrants in Michalowo, Belarus, next to the border with Poland.

Wojciech Czuchnowski

WARSAW — There is no doubt that the refugees crossing the Belarusian border with Poland — and by extension reaching the European Union — were shepherded through by the regime of Alexander Lukashenko. There is more than enough evidence that this is an organized action of the dictator using a network of intermediaries stretching from Africa and the Middle East. But that is not all.

The Belarusian regime has made no secret that its services are guiding refugees to the Polish border, literally pushing them onto (and often, through) the wires.

It can be seen in films made available to the media by... Belarusian border guards and Lukashenko's official information agencies.

Tactics of a strongman

Refugees are not led to the border by "pretend soldiers" in uniforms from a military collectibles store. These are regular formations commanded by state authorities. Their actions violate all rules of peaceful coexistence and humanitarianism to which Belarus has committed itself as a state.

Belarus is dismissed by the "rest of the world" as a hopeless case of a bizarre (although, in the last year, increasingly brutal) dictatorship. But it still formally belongs to a whole range of organizations whose principles it violates every day on the border with Poland.

Indeed, Belarus is a part of the United Nations (it is even listed as a founding state in its declaration), it belongs to the UNICEF, to the International Committee of the Red Cross, and even to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Photo of Polish soldiers setting up a barbed wire fence in the Border Zone near Krynki, Belarus

Polish soldiers set up a barbed wire fence in the Border Zone near Krynki, Belarus

Maciej Luczniewski/ZUMA

Lukashenko would never challenge the Red Cross

Each of these entities has specialized bureaus whose task is to intervene wherever conventions and human rights are violated. Each of these organizations should have sent their observers and representatives to the conflict area long ago — and without asking Belarus for permission. They should be operating on both sides of the border, as their presence would certainly make it more difficult to break the law.

An incomprehensible absence

Neither the leader of Poland's ruling party Jaroslaw Kaczyński nor even Lukashenko would dare to keep the UN, UNICEF, OSCE or the Red Cross out of their countries.

In recent weeks, the services of one UN state (Belarus) have been regularly violating the border of another UN state (Poland). In the nearby forests, children are being pushed around and people are dying. Despite all of this, none of the international organizations seems to be trying to reach the border nor taking any kind of action required by their responsibilities.

Their absence in such a critical time and place is completely incomprehensible, and their lack of action raises questions about the use of international treaties and organizations created to protect them.

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!