China's first live television airing of the birth of a child on Friday, which included footage of a cesarean section and a baby covered in blood, has sparked intense criticism online.
The show, called Laiba Haizi, or Come On Babies, was produced by Shenzhen Television and recorded women in labour at the Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital at Fudan University in Shanghai.
The first episode on Friday night featured three women in labour, with one screaming and pulling her hair during an delivery. For another woman, after the cesarean section, the midwife holds the blood-covered newborn up to the cameras.
Netizens expressed horror online.
"It was terrifying to see the mother's tummy cut in a second during the C-section. ... Can I say I do not want to give birth? I was so scared that I cried," a netizen called Xu Xiaoguai's Happy Time wrote on her micro blog on Friday night.
Others debated whether it is appropriate to expose people's private moments in front of a camera, while others applauded the show for recording the moment a woman becomes a mother.
Guo Qian, the mother of a 1-year-old boy in Beijing, believes such programs can help prepare woman for becoming mothers.
"I did a lot of research online before my baby's birth. Learning more about what will happen during labour will reduce the anxieties and worries of parents-to-be," the 28-year-old said.
The show has become one of the hottest topics on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, with more than 195.5 million posts over the weekend.
Ding Junjie, a professor at the Communication University of China, said some television shows are desperately seeking breakthroughs in new programs due to fierce competition.
"There are many ways to teach the public to appreciate life and a mother's love, but presenting the painful labour process on screen is not the best way," he said.