Saturday, May 31, 2008
Almost two years ago, Porcupine wrote about his profound discomfort at the BodyWorks exhibit of plastinated human remains being displayed at the Boston Museum of Science. His post then, aclled Human Sensibility, contained these words:
But as you look at the photos, and perhaps the exhibit, please keep something in mind. These are actual people, who got up in the morning, dressed, went to work, and so on. It is stated that they volunteered for this process, and it is to be hoped that there are no John Does with no next of kin, doomed to peripateic travels rather than rest in even an unmarked grave.
It has now been learned that they are worse then John Does - they are, instead, victims of Chinese torture and execution. The anonymous Chinese corpses come from the plastination lab at Dalian Medical University in China, operated by a former partner of plastination pioneer and anatomist Gunther von Hagens of "Body Worlds" fame. von Hagens himself has served as a visiting professor at Dalian Medical University, and for some of his international plastination exhibits he received from China the corpses of apparently-executed prisoners. While, in North America, Body Worlds is now touring in three versions, in Europe it has disappeared, having gone unexhibited since 2004. For in that year, the German newsweekly Der Spiegel published a lengthy expose of von Hagens, the burden of which was that at least some of his subjects showed evidence of bullet holes in the back of the neck, the preferred Chinese method of executing prisoners. Der Speigel obtained proof of $300 'body runs' and reported that many of the posed figures were members of the banned Falun Gong sect.
Porcupine was dismayed before, but is disturbed now. It is to be hoped that these interesting 'experiments' will be given the decent burial they deserve.