State-controlled Guangdong TV surprised the province's soccer fans when it introduced a bikini-clad weather girl for its broadcast of a Euro 2012 soccer match at the weekend. Local media said ratings for the station's broadcast trumped those for many of its competitors, which featured well-known commentators or celebrity guests. The official state broadcaster brought in acclaimed pianist Li Yundi to play Chopin pieces before the start of the match. The tournament co-hosts are Poland, the composer's birthplace, and Ukraine. 'Do you want Li Yundi playing Chopin or bikini weather girls forecasting Polish weather?' Guangdong-based Information Times newspaper asked readers. Although footage with girls in bikinis is commonly broadcast on the mainland during family viewing hours or in movies classified as suitable for children, it is very rare for state-controlled television to introduce anchorwomen wearing only a swimsuit. The weather forecast for Euro 2012 venues, which was broadcast just before midnight and lasted several minutes, sparked huge debate among internet users. Mainland newspapers cited the television station as saying that dozens of beautiful bikini-clad women, many of them undergraduate students and in their early 20s, would appear in the weather forecasts during the tournament to boost ratings and advertising sales. The women were selected in a Miss Bikini competition organised earlier by the station. An unnamed director from the station's sports channel was quoted by news portal Sina.com yesterday as saying the programme hadn't been expected to spark such a huge public response, but suggested it was because mainland audiences rarely see scantily clad anchorwomen. As for Saturday night's weather girl, many soccer fans said she looked a bit shy and embarrassed on television. Some internet users poked fun at the station, saying its sports channel should be renamed the 'human flesh watching channel', as the pronunciation of 'sports' and 'human flesh watching' in Cantonese are the same. Other fans praised the appearance of the anchorwomen, adding that they were a welcome move away from the mainland's old-fashioned, Communist Party-controlled broadcasting and urging propaganda authorities to learn more from TV stations in the West.