Height extending surgery in the Western media, again


On June 6, a Florida TV station broadcast a news item and published an article (online here) about height-extending surgery in China:
Xia breaks his patient's legs, then attaches metal pins to the separated bones, which are held in place by metal frames around the patient's legs...

...The patient then has to twist a knob daily to drag the ends of broken bone apart gradually, encouraging new bone to grow to bridge the gap as the fracture heals, resulting in longer bones, and a taller person, according to the report.

Well it seems that this is one China story that can be used again and again and again when Western media outlets need a weird news item. Below is a Danwei post written by Joel Martinsen, originally published in April this year:

Writing about height
The Chinese are stereotypically short, right? So it's really ironic that there are height requirements on all kinds of jobs, and that people will undergo surgery to increase their chances, right? Western newspapers seem to think so.

Every year or so the English-language press rediscovers a rare Chinese operation to increase height. The L.A. Times, in its March 31 issue, is the latest to run what has become a cliched story. Comparing it to a New York Times article from May 2002, we find:

- Bad pun for a title: check
- A pretty, college-educated 20-something woman goes under the knife: check
- Comments from Dr. Xia Hetao: check
- Foreign Ministry has height requirements: check
- Warnings from western doctors: check
- Reference to how short Deng Xiaoping was: check

Then there's the Guardian from 2003, with "A Tall Order," and Time Asia from back in 2001, with "High Hopes," whose stories are basically the same. Sure, human interest is a nice break from "Tall Buildings!!"-type stories, but, you know, I bet there's other interesting human stuff around, too.

LATimes story, NYTimes story repost, Guardian story, Time Asia story
Dr. Xia's Beijing Institute of External Skeletal Fixation Technology has an English site which shows before and after pictures (under "Cases")

Thanks to Paul Clark and Tian for emailing the link.

There are currently 1 Comments for Height extending surgery in the Western media, again.

Comments on Height extending surgery in the Western media, again

The news is pretty wince-inducing. Is currently doing a research about such surgeries for my screenplay.

China Media Timeline
Major media events over the last three decades
Danwei Model Workers
The latest recommended blogs and new media
From 2008
Front Page of the Day
A different newspaper every weekday
From the Vault
Classic Danwei posts
+ Culture and corporate propaganda in Soho Xiaobao (2007.11): Mid-2007 issues of Soho Xiaobao (SOHO小报), illustrating the complicated identity of in-house magazines run by real estate companies.
+ Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship (2010.03): Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship at an officially sanctioned meeting in Shenzhen.
+ Crowd-sourced cheating on the 2010 gaokao (2010.06): A student in Sichuan seeks help with the ancient Chinese section of this year's college entrance exam -- while the test is going on!
Danwei Archives