Real Bodies Exhibit - Making Money From Murdered Human Beings Print
Global Stage
Sunday, 06 May 2018 10:21

The 'Real Bodies' exhibition continues in Sydney, Australia despite public outcry and protests that demand the NSW and Australian governments close it down because of the failure of the organisers to show consent and proper governance of the corpses.

There has been a daily peaceful protest outside the Sydney Entertainment Precinct where the exhibition is being held since the opening on April 14th.

Protesters said that feedback from passers by was very supportive once people understood the extent of this display of the victims of these crimes against humanity.

A young couple intending to visit the exhibit, received a flyer and then returned a few minutes later to get more information and then decided that they could not support such an unethical exhibit, and that they would write to their MP, calling for the exhibit to be closed.

Quite a number of people posed for photos with protesters and their signs, promising to spread the social media message.

Two young men attended the show and then came to discuss with protesters. One said he is a medical student, but the show had nothing to do with medical education, and that some explanations in the show regarding bodies are wrong. They felt that the show was 'voyeuristic' rather than educational and did not think that it was dignified.He will ask his university classmates not to go to the show.

“This is not [just] about Chinese people. This is about the dignity of every Australian,” said Trevor Grace, a school teacher from Adelaide, who, with his wife Robyn, spent 2 weeks of the school holidays in Sydney protesting the exhibit. Grace has since helped start a petition that now has over 2000 signatures.

Political silence on unnamed victims on display

As expected when issues regarding China and human rights are concerned, the state and federal governments have been silent. All their flowery rhetoric about 'Australian values' and support for human rights is quickly forgotten when China flexes its economic muscle.

Only one politician has spoken out. NSW Greens MLC David Shoebridge said, “We all believe in the dignity of human beings, and treating people with dignity and respect both in life and in death. This exhibition grossly breaches that principle … grossly indignifies people who cannot prove … [that they] gave their pre-informed consent to this.”

Shoebridge said, “I am referring this matter to the NSW Police Commissioner asking for an urgent investigation of a breach of Section 81c of the NSW crimes act … No consent, no exhibition.”

Highly profitable

These exhibitions of human cadavers and bodily organs have been marketed around the world since the mid-2000s. They present hundreds of “specimens” from human beings, including whole body cadavers and embryos at various stages of development, preserved by a process called plastination. The exhibitions have been presented by various companies, the 3 main ones currently are: a)Atlanta, USA-based Imagine Exhibitions Inc. (presenters of the Sydney display); b) Atlanta, USA-based Premier Exhibitions and c) German-based Gunther von Hagen.

Body plastination technology was invented in the 1970s by German anatomist Gunther Von Hagen. It uses silicon, epoxy, and other polymer mixtures to replace the fluid in the human body . The process of creating a single human body specimen may take up to one year and hundreds of hours. Other than the plastination technology itself, the bottleneck in creating specimens is the availability of fresh human corpses. According to forensic medicine and information detailed in the Institute for Plastination document titled “Donating your body” , the body must arrive no later than 2-3 days after death for the process to be successful.

According to their own statements, all of the human cadavers and organs in the exhibitions presented by Imagine Exhibitions and Premier Exhibitions are obtained from a large plastination facility in China affiliated with the Dalian Medical University. The facility is headed by Sui Hongjin, deputy director of the Anatomy Department at Dalian Medical University. See investigation report here.

Imagine Exhibitions Inc. and Premier Exhibitions have not been transparent about what documentation they have to prove the bodies' origins and legal consent provision by the subjects, according to the Newscorp report dated April 10. There are no identification, ages, causes of death and/or death certificates provided or displayed at the exhibition.

Complied with Chinese 'law'

Imagine Exhibitions president and chief executive Tom Zaller told that claims the exhibition used human cadavers originating from Chinese political prisoners who had died while incarcerated were “unfounded” and “offensive”. But he was unable to provide any evidence of their origins. He said the bodies were “absolutely from China” but said there was “no documentation” to prove their identities or show they had agreed in life to donate their corpses in death.

Zaller told a Sydney TV news program, that all corpses were supplied by the Chinese Public Security Bureau (secret police) and complied with Chinese law.

So, if bodies could be sourced from North Korea, or ISIS held areas, and complied with their "law", even though no documentation, as long as money was to be made, would that be okay with Mr. Zaller?

No rule of law or independent judiciary

There is no rule of law or independent judiciary in China. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) tells judges whether a person is guilty or not and what sentence to impose. That of course, presupposes that there is a 'trial' in the first place. Most prisoners of conscience (Falun Gong practitioners, house christians, Tibetans and Uyghurs) have committed no crimes, have no trial and are sent directly to labor camps.

This exhibition is being held in Australia and is subject to Australian, not Chinese law.

According to the Australian Anatomy Act 1977 and Human Tissue Act 1983, any human specimen used for teaching/education/Other purposes must be accompanies by the person’s full consent. Therefore display of human remains without such documentation is potentially in breach of Australian laws.

Investigative reports have pointed to the questionable origin of the bodies — a large amount of which were created by a university in Dalian, China — suggesting that the cadavers may have come from executed political prisoners  and dissenters. It is important to note that the German weekly Der Spiegel  cited the inventor of plastination, Gunhter Von Hagens, that the bodies from Dalian were “very fresh”, a criteria that is preferred in the plastination process. In accordance with China’s law a body can be classified as “unclaimed” if it remains in the morgues for 30 days – a duration too long for the plastination process to be successful.

International bans

a)    In 2017 the Mayor of Prague actively urged for an immediate shut-down of the exhibit and proposed the urgent need to bury all the human remains, with dignity, in accordance with the local law.
b)    In 2012 the Israeli Supreme Court issued a similar ruling. Hawaii banned the shows, as did city councils in Seattle and elsewhere in the U.S.
d)    In 2010, the French Supreme Court declared the commercial exhibition of human remains illegal, effectively closing down all such exhibits. New York forced an exhibitor in 2008 to place a sign at the front of its show admitting that it could not prove the   provenance of its bodies, and demanded that all future shows arrive with complete documentation of the bodies.
e)    In 2010 Seattle prohibited exhibitions, like Bodies, displaying human remains.  
f)    In 2009 Hawaii passed a legislation to prohibit exhibition of human remains.  
g)    In 2005 the county and city of Seattle passed a legislation banning any displays of human remains.

Organ harvesting and transplantation abuses

China’s track record of abuse in the area of organ transplantation has been well documented by governments, media and independent investigators. The latest evidence compiled in the 2016 report by David Kilgour, Ethan Guttman, and David Matas indicates that China performs up to 100,000 transplants a year, while having a very underdeveloped public donation scheme.  Chinese culture decrees that a body must be buried "intact", and very few Chinese would donate organs for transplants or bodies for 'research'.

There is a huge discrepancy in the transplantation numbers and donation rate. Investigations have indicated that the “missing” thousands of organs are extracted from unwilling prisoners of conscience – Uyghurs, Tibetans, house christians and predominantly Falun Gong practitioners.

The above researchers who produced the 2016 report “Bloody Harvest / The Slaughter” about organ harvesting in China said they “worried greatly that none of what is claimed for the exhibits is correct”.

They highlighted major discrepancies in the number of corpses provided to science and the figures for body donations in China.

The report read: “Trafficking in human cadavers has become a business.

“Plastinated specimens are publicly priced and traded.”

A college student in north-eastern China also questioned the origins of bodies alleged to have been donated in a letter to

“Our tiny, amateurish medical college in Changchun somehow has more bodies and organ specimens than Waseda University in Tokyo. How is it possible that we have accumulated so many corpses and organ specimens in recent years after the Cultural Revolution? I asked the teacher whether these bodies were donated, but the teacher told me not to ask.

Later I discovered that in the suburban district of Changchun there is a corpse processing plant. Today in China, do we really have so many cadavers from voluntary donors, so many that we need corpse plants? Bodies of infants and young children are also processed there. Are the Chinese parents really so ‘noble’ as to donate the remains of their own deceased infants?”

Time to speak out

It is time for the Australian people to demand that the government stand up to China and its appalling human rights record, and a good start would be to close down this gross exhibition of victims of crimes against humanity, and to demand that China allow an independent investigation of its state sanctioned organ harvesting genocide.

Of course, that would take courage and a commitment to the principles of human rights that neither side of politics has managed when profit is to be gained from China.


What can you do to help?

a. Sign an online petition here

b. Write to Federal Minister of Art - Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield:

Electorate Office

42 Florence Street
Mentone VIC 3194
Tel: 03 9584 2455
Tel Toll Free (VIC only): 1300 797 110
Fax: 03 9584 8347

Parliament Office

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT 2600
Tel: 02 6277 7480
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

c. Write to your local state Member of Parliament to express your concern about the exhibition’s unethical content.

d. Spread the word on social media, to your colleagues and other organizations.