China netizens outraged over 'fat face divorce' case

Photo of plastic surgery being conducted Image copyright iStock
Image caption Plastic surgery has been a hot topic on China's microblogging social network Weibo

A report about a woman who said she had repeated plastic surgery after her husband divorced her because she had a "fat face" has sparked outrage among China's online community.

Though the unverified story was short on details, and did not have the husband's side of the story, "divorced because of fat face" quickly became a top trend on microblogging network Weibo.

'Large and square'

State media picked up the story on Thursday, which was first reported in a local evening paper earlier this week.

Liaoshen Wanbao reported the 49-year-old woman in Shenyang city had claimed her husband had divorced her 10 years ago because he disliked the shape of her face, said to be "large and square" with "fat cheeks".

She said it spurred her to undergo facial surgery three times at a local hospital to shave her jawbones and reshape her face into a slimmer shape.

During the third surgery the doctors discovered that if they proceeded further her nerves may be damaged, and halted the procedure.

The woman, identified only by her surname Wang, later sued the hospital for 1.7 million yuan ($260,900; £183,900) in damages.

She alleged the surgery had left her with soreness in her chin, and she could only eat and drink through a straw as "when she exerted force on her lower jaw, she had the sensation that it would break".

The hospital, however, argued that the surgeries were conducted according to regulations, and pointed out that they encouraged her to seek psychiatric help instead of a third operation, which she refused.

After mediation the woman agreed to accept 20,000 yuan ($3,100, £2,200) as compensation, said the report.

'Lying to herself'

On Weibo, some condemned the woman's husband, but others also chastised the woman.

One top-voted comment read: "It's purely an excuse, if her face was large then why did he decide to marry her in the first place? If he stopped loving her then he should have just said so."

It continued: "This woman is also very silly to have believed that her face shape was the real reason for the divorce, she is lying to herself."

Said another Weibo user: "Even if you had gone for facial surgery and made your face smaller, he would still have found other reasons to divorce you."

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Media captionInside China's plastic surgery boom

One person noted the sharp difference in the compensation amount and voiced suspicions: "1.7 million was dropped to 20,000, it makes me wonder if she really did have a problem with her jaw."

Still others took the opportunity to crack jokes.

"What an odd reason for divorce! I wonder how square was this woman's square-shaped face? Like a television set? Microwave oven?"

Plastic surgery has long been a hot topic on Weibo. In December, users similarly expressed outrage when a Chinese man took out a newspaper advertisement pleading for his wife to go for plastic surgery.

More than seven million cosmetic surgeries were performed in China in 2014.

The industry's value, pegged at around 400bn yuan, is expected to double by 2019, according to the China Association of Plastics and Aesthetics.

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