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Controversial Chinese writer plans surgery to look like Shakespeare

SHANGHAI--A controversial best-selling Chinese author says he is planning to spend one million yuan (US$153,500) on plastic surgery to look like British playwright William Shakespeare, to let the people across the world “remember” one of the world's greatest writers, Chinese media reported.

Writer Zhang Yiyi will undergo 10 operations in 10 months, and will need to go for monthly checkups after the surgery, Chinese National Radio reported.

The makeover would not be too difficult because Zhang has a sculpted face with a sharp nose and deep eyes that bear some resemblance to Shakespeare, said his chief surgeon, Dr. Zheng Churong.

The doctor said work on the eyes, chin and other parts of the writer's face will be required.

Zhang made the decision to go ahead with his plan knowing the risks involved in the procedure, the Shanghai Daily reported.

The whole operation will cost him 1.2 million yuan. Mr Zhang said he would pay for it with royalties earned from his new book, which he had spent the last four years writing.

“Life is a process of striving to become a better person. I think the surgeries are worth the money,” Zhang was quoted as saying.

Some netizens criticized his announcement as a publicity stunt, adding that he should be spending his time on writing instead.

This is not the first time Zhang has stirred up media hype.

In 2006, he published a letter in which he proposed to a well-known Chinese TV show host, listing six reasons why she should marry him.

Two years later, he wrote a book detailing the negative characteristics of people from 13 provinces and municipalities. The book sparked outrage among readers, who said he had insulted many people.

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