BEIJING - The death of an aspiring Chinese pop singer during plastic surgery has cast an ugly light on an obsession with beauty that sees millions go under the knife in China each year.
Wang Bei, 24, a former contestant on Super Girl, China's version of American Idol, died on Nov 15 during "facial bone-grinding surgery" in Wuhan, capital city of Central China's Hubei province, media reports have said.
That Wang even felt she needed to improve her looks has underlined the extent to which cosmetic surgery has taken hold. Her beauty had already made her a popular contestant on the smash television hit Super Girl.
Her death has fuelled concerns about the dangers of plastic surgery in a country where three million people have operations each year to improve their appearances, according to figures published by State media.
An "anaesthetic accident" occurred during Wang's procedure at the Zhong'ao Cosmetic Surgery Hospital, Xinhua News Agency reported, citing the local health bureau.
Wang's jaw suddenly started bleeding during the procedure, blocking her windpipe and causing her to suffocate, reports said.
Wang's mother was having the same procedure at the clinic when her daughter died.
Surging demand for cosmetic surgery has led to untrained doctors carrying out operations, "which is risky and irresponsible", Zhang Huabin, a professor of plastic surgery at southern China's Guangdong Medical College, told Xinhua.
Web users have also expressed concern and questioned why a pretty girl such as Wang would feel the need for plastic surgery.
"I hope the tragedy can raise people's awareness of the slack supervision of the plastic surgery industry," one Web user said.
Wang "paid a painful price for beauty", said an entry on popular Internet portal sina.com.
Another Web user asked why Wang wanted cosmetic surgery when she was already "so beautiful".
"It is not possible to be famous based only on your face," the posting said.