Student Wins China's Plastic-Surgery Pageant

A 22-year-old student who has had cosmetic surgery (search) on her eyelids and cheeks was crowned the winner Saturday of China's first pageant for such "manmade beauties."

Feng Qian (search) received a $6,000 country club membership after being picked from among 20 finalists, who ranged in age from 18 to 62.

Surging numbers of newly prosperous Chinese are going under the knife after decades of communist austerity, seeking shapelier noses, fuller breasts and other features.

"I think this contest offered a platform for all the girls who have undergone plastic surgery and aren't willing to talk about it," Feng told reporters after the ceremony. "This is recognition of the girls like us."

Wearing a gold, sleeveless gown and a winner's crown of flowers, the student from northeastern Jilin province said she hopes to become a plastic surgeon herself one day.

The event was organized after an 18-year-old woman was disqualified from another Chinese beauty pageant this year on the grounds that she had had cosmetic surgery.

Competitors had to submit proof that they had undergone surgery. Sponsors included Chinese makers of cosmetic surgery products. The contest had a talent show and evening gown and swimsuit competitions.

One contestant, Liu Xiaojin, was a 21-year-old transsexual who was a man until three years ago. She shared a prize for Best Media Image with the retiree, Liu Yulan, who has had a facelift and three other procedures.

Other prizes handed out included Most Intelligent and Best Figure.

Organizers said 90 women from other countries, including the United States and Japan, applied to compete. But they said the non-Chinese applicants were deemed not serious enough about the contest or had language or scheduling problems.

The government says China's cosmetic surgery industry took in $2.4 billion last year.

China also has eagerly embraced the notion of beauty pageants and modeling contests. The southern Chinese beach resort of Sanya has hosted the Miss World (search) pageant for two straight years and is to be the site of the event again next year.