Jin Xing China transgender dancer
Chinese dancer and choreographer Jin Xing, and former a colonel in the People's Liberation Army (PLA), instructs dancers from her dance troupe, in Shanghai, 23 November 2006 Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Image

China's most-loved TV presenter Jin Xing has celebrated a vivid career as an army general, dancer and sharp-tongued TV judge, has also won the hearts of the nation as the first country's first openly transgender public figure.

Jin, who presents the TV programme Chinese Dating, decided to undergo her transition after launching a successful career as a dancer.

After living in America, Brussels and Rome, the celebrity returned to her home country to receive gender reassignment surgery at the age of 28.

Although she was living abroad at the time, Jin felt compelled to return to her home country to start the procedure.

"I was born in China. It is in China I must be reborn as a woman," she said in an interview with The Economist.

Jin was temporarily paralysed in her left limb after the surgery, due to oxygen deprivation, but has since made a full recovery.

Finding televised fame as a judge on So You Think You Can Dance in 2005, the presenter has since hosted a string of hit shows, including her own talk show, to critical acclaim since.

Although the star has said being transgender in China is akin to inhabiting "a tiny island", Jin has said that her transition has been accepted in the generally socially conservative country.

Chinese Dating, the latest show she presents, has in fact received criticism for espousing very traditional values, in which female contestants are quizzed about their ability to have children, and men are asked about their financial status.

Jin is married to a German businessman and has three adopted children. The family live in Shanghai.

Transgender surgery is not illegal in China, but performed rarely as it is taboo. The country has not taken an official stance many LGBT rights issues, including on any gender reassignment surgery procedures.