Olympics Fervor Prompts Beijing Tattoo Craze

Taboos fall as China's new generation gets into body art
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 23, 2008 8:22 AM CDT
A Chinese man shows off his tattoos on Day 1 of the 2008 Beijing Games.   (Getty Images )
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(Newser) – Beijing tattoo artists have had a steady stream of customers seeking permanent Olympic souvenirs in recent weeks, the New York Times reports. Tattoo parlors were rare in China a decade ago, but hundreds have sprouted as taboos have begun to fall. American influence is strong, but artists are seeking to create their own Chinese tattoo culture.

Body art has a history many centuries old in China but became associated with gangsters and lowlifes in later years and was condemned by the Communists. Elders may still sneer but young Chinese show off their tattoos with pride. "Tattoos let people create an identity and help give meaning to their lives," said one artist who has been inking Olympic rings all week.