The recent death of a 33-year-old online celebrity in China has sparked a nationwide call for stricter regulations in the cosmetic surgery industry. The celebrity from East China died of serious infections earlier in the week after undergoing multiple surgeries.
The death of Xiaoran - an online influencer with more than 130,000 followers on Weibo - became the topic of focus on social media and a growing call for stricter government oversight. Posts with hashtags related to her tragic death remained trending this week, with some posts garnering more than 600 million views.
A report from the Chinese magazine Economic Weekly said Friday that the clinic where Xiaoran had her surgeries admitted responsibility for her death. The beauty clinic, located in Hangzhou in China's Zhejiang Province, said the infections stemmed from some mistakes that were made during surgery and delayed treatments.
Local authorities have since closed down the beauty clinic. Xiaoran's family members have filed a lawsuit against the clinic and sought a sum of 6 million yuan ($920,000) as compensation for wrongful death.
A report from China Network said Xiaoran first visited the clinic in May for a consultation. Doctors then recommended that she undergo three surgeries -abdomen liposuction, upper arm liposuction and breast augmentation. Surgery records showed that Xiaoran underwent all three procedures on the same day. The report said she was under the knife for more than five hours for all three procedures.
Two days after the surgery, Xiaoran experienced shortness of breath and extreme pain. She was later admitted to a hospital in Hangzhou. Doctors told her relatives that she was suffering from multiple organ failures. Xiaoran underwent multiple whole-body sterilization surgeries but remained in critical condition. After fighting for nearly two months, she died in ICU on Tuesday.
Her death sparked an intense debate on social media, with online users calling on the government to impose stricter regulations in the plastic surgery industry. The issue also caught the attention of some politicians, who have suggested amendments to the law to protect the public.
"The cases demonstrate that regulation of the medical beauty industry should be amended according to the present situation and suggestions from the public," Lü Xiaoquan, a women's rights lawyer in Beijing, said.
According to a recent report, China's plastic surgery market is expected to reach more than 300 billion yuan by 2022. The biggest problem in the sector is that only 14 percent of operators in the industry are legal medical institutions. Beijing Evening News estimates that there are likely more than 100,000 illegal beauty clinics operating in Beijing alone that offer cosmetic surgery services.