The official reportedly told the passenger, who was wearing dark lipstick and heavy eyeshadow, to change her appearance for fear it would scare other customers at Xiaogang station on the Guangzhou Metro.
“Your makeup has problems - It's terrible,” the guard told the woman, according to the state-run news outlet China Daily.
The student said she refused to give in to the demands of the staff member and boarded a train without removing her make-up.
“The woman security guard told me the make-up was problematic and too horrifying. It must be removed on the spot,” she later wrote on China’s Sina Weibo social network.
“I’m hoping to use this relatively public platform to challenge the authorities: what laws grant you the right to stop me and waste my time?
“If you can cite one, I am willing to pay for a banner to hang in the subway station that says Goth fashion and heavy make-up are barred from the subway.”
The post attracted significant attention on the site, with many users criticising the security guard over her behaviour.
More than 5,000 users went on to post photographs of themselves wearing Goth make-up under the hashtag #ASelfieForTheGuangzhouMetro, in a show of support of the woman.
Guangzhou Metro later issued a statement, saying the guard in question had handled the incident “inappropriately,” and would be suspended until she received further training.
“Guangzhou Metro apologises publicly to the victimised passenger and to netizens, and will try to further improve its work and management to provide even better service,” the company added.
The incident is thought to be one of several on the Guangzhou Metro in which customers have been harangued over their appearance in recent months.
In July last year, a woman wearing “Lolita-style dress” inspired by Japanese manga when security inspectors told her “odd” clothes were not permitted on the subway.
In November, a woman wearing Goth-like clothing reported she was stopped by guards, who warned her outfit was “scary, as she tried to enter a Guangzhou Metro station.
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