For years, the controversial Body Worlds anatomical exhibit, showcasing human cadavers preserved through a process known as plastination, has toured many countries worldwide. The most alarming specimen in the exhibit is a reclining pregnant woman and her 8-month-old fetus. Who was she?
Was the cadaver of this pregnant woman and the other corpses featured in the Body Worlds exhibit legitimately acquired?
Ethan Gutmann, renowned UK-based investigative writer and researcher, and 2017 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, wrote his observations in the Weekly Standard: “What’s bugging me is that some of the bodies, the female ones in particular, have unusually short legs. And there’s something about those legs, combined with the small, refined skulls and the slight frames, that looks Chinese.”
The brainchild of the plastination technique and the Body Worlds exhibit—German anatomist Gunther von Hagens—claimed the human specimens were from “willing” donors.
However, according to NPR, Hans Martin Sass—a philosophy professor with expertise in Ethics—did not find any paperwork that paired up to any specific finished plastinate in Body Worlds after matching over 200 donation forms to death certificates.
Furthermore, the identity of each plastinated cadaver is hidden to protect its privacy.
Hence, nobody will know exactly where these bodies came from. “In a worst-case scenario, [the bodies were] dissidents killed in a Chinese prison,” the NPR article stated.
Another similar exhibition, known as BODIES, released a disclaimer that reads: “This exhibit displays human remains of Chinese citizens or residents, which were originally received by the Chinese Bureau of Police. The Chinese Bureau of Police may receive bodies from Chinese prisons.”
The corpses in “BODIES: The Exhibition,” were provided by von Hagens’s student, Sui Hongjin—the founder of Dalian Hoffen Bio Technique Company. “They’re unclaimed,” said Roy Glover, spokesman for BODIES.
Due to traditional Chinese culture, Chinese people are reluctant, if not unwilling, to donate their organs, not to say donating their bodies to be put on exhibit.
Author Chen Lan wrote in her Weibo blog, “China has an extremely low body-donation rate, so low that all medical schools are in dire need of cadavers.”
And according to the “Regulations on Dissection of Corpses” issued by the Ministry of Health of China in February 1979, only corpses unclaimed for at least a month are labeled as “unclaimed.” But, such bodies aren’t suitable for plastination, which demands fresh, preservative-free cadavers.
So, where did these unclaimed bodies come from?
Back in August 1999, Gunther von Hagens invested $15 million to establish Von Hagens Plastination Ltd. in Dalian Hi-tech Zone after receiving approval from the Dalian municipal government—while disgraced Chinese Communist Party official Bo Xilai was the then Dalian mayor.
Von Hagens told the New York Times in 2006 that he set up his factory in Dalian due to the abundant sources of bodies, cheap labor, and few government restrictions.
“When I came here, [Sui Hongjin] said we’ll have no problem with Chinese bodies … He said we can use unclaimed bodies. Now it’s difficult, but then it was no problem at all,” von Hagens said.
Coincidentally, the Chinese Communist Party started a brutal persecution campaign against Falun Gong on July 20, 1999, just a month prior to the establishment of Von Hagens Plastination Ltd.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient mind-body cultivation practice based on the principles of “Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance.” With an estimated 70 million to 100 million adherents in China by 1999, the Chinese regime perceived Falun Gong’s popularity as a threat to its authoritarian rule.
Bo Xilai, who has since been sentenced to life in prison, was actively involved in the persecution of Falun Gong.
Von Hagens’s plastination factory was situated in close proximity to the three prison camps—Masanjia, Longshan, and Shenxin—which are home to political detainees and Falun Gong practitioners.
“Around von Hagens’ corpse factory in Dalian, there were already three labor camps and prisons,” reads a 2001 feature story published in the German newspaper Der Spiegel. “In the notorious ‘[Dalian] Yaojia Detention Center,’ political prisoners are detained, among them adherents of the spiritual movement Falun Gong.”
As per the U.S. State Department’s 2009 Human Rights report, some observers estimate as much as half of the inmates in China’s forced-labor camps were Falun Gong practitioners, who were subject to torture and abuse.
In light of the aforementioned information, one can easily deduce that the cadavers supplied to the plastination factory were obtained via the three labor camps—and that they were mostly Falun Gong practitioners.
Moreover, these Falun Gong practitioners were easy targets because they refused to disclose their names when they were illegally detained by the police, so as to protect their families, and fellow practitioners, who could be targeted for persecution too.
In addition, former Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin issued a directive in 1999 that “if a Falun Gong practitioner is beaten to death, it is counted as a suicide.” This also means the Chinese Communist authorities can do whatever they want with the bodies, like selling them to plastination companies for profit—after the removal of organs.
“In Vienna I’m noticing that the liver and kidneys appear to be missing from some of the plastinated bodies on display. Is it conceivable that there were dual-use bodies, the organs harvested before plastination?” wrote Gutmann.
Allegations of the Chinese Communist Party forcibly harvesting the organs from Falun Gong adherents first surfaced in 2006. Gutmann said an estimated 65,000 Falun Gong practitioners have been secretly killed to supply China’s lucrative organ transplant industry. But this figure could be much higher.
Gutmann alluded to an intercepted email from Sui Hongjin to von Hagens in 2001 to substantiate the allegations. “This morning, two fresh, top quality corpses arrived at the factory. The livers were removed only a few hours ago,” the email read, Der Spiegel reported.
In fact, WOIPFG (World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong) investigations have confirmed that many of these “unclaimed corpses” were from Falun Gong practitioners.
On Sept. 18, 2012, a WOIPFG investigator, disguised as the secretary of Xia Deren, who’s the deputy secretariat of Liaoning’s Provincial Party Committee, phoned Sun Guangtian, former head of Dalian Public Security Bureau, to collect evidence of Bo Xilai and his wife, Gu Kailai’s involvement in selling the corpses of Falun Gong practitioners. (Download recording: MP3).
“Many things have happened, and no matter what, you cannot disclose that Bo Xilai’s wife Gu Kailai is involved in selling the corpses of Falun Gong practitioners…,” the undercover investigator told Sun Guangtian. “Secretariat Xia would like you to pass on the message to relevant insiders who worked at Dalian Public Security Bureau at the time that they need to be careful not to leak this information.”
Sun replied, “Please tell Secretariat Xia that he can trust me to carry this out.”
As Radio Free Asia reported, a single plastinated body can fetch US$1 million. Given the astronomical profits derived from the sales of cadavers, it’s conceivable that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)—known for its oppressive cruelty for a long time—would murder innocent people to sell their organs, and even their bodies.
From organ harvesting to the plastination of human bodies, the CCP’s crimes are a new form of evil never seen before. When the world finally learns the truth, the perpetrators of these atrocities will be brought to justice.