I always felt that a German exhibition of plasticized defleshed humans was an example of decadence.

At least, the German show originator claimed the bodies had been donated to science.

But now, there are several copycat versions of “The Body Show” touring the US, and there are very real questions where this company obtained their bodies.

Harry Wu was on a Catholic religious news program this week (EWTN The World Over) and claimed that the bodies came from executed Chinese prisoners.

The “harvesting” of organs from executed Chinese prisoners is widely believed but poorly documented (IndyMedia estimates 3,400 organ transplants last year) and the article describes the way body parts are removed fresh for retrieval.

But selling bodies to be used in such a grotesque exhibit is even worse: you can’t claim taking organs from such people saves live; they are being used merely to make a profit.

Oh, it’s educations, claims Dr. Glover, the “scientific” expert for the exhibit.

Playing down the sensationalism, Premier executives use the word “specimen” to describe the exhibits and emphasize their value as educational tools that can teach children about human physiology and help adults learn how to lead healthier lives. Dr. Roy Glover, a retired anatomy professor who is the company’s medical adviser, makes a point of showing off a set of lungs blackened by smoking and a brain damaged by a stroke. The exhibit’s explanatory text, written by Dr. Glover, counsels against obesity, steroid use and inactivity.

But wait a second. The grotesque exhibitions are making lots and lots of money (7.4 million dollars in 2007) and the group plans to expand the number of exhibitions touring the US to eleven.

Of course, the company insists that these are “unclaimed” bodies were “legally obtained”.They are working via a Chinese University:

The bodies in Bodies don’t actually belong to Premier — the company paid $25 million to Dalian Medical University for the rights to use them for display. When the shows are over, the bodies will revert to the school and then be cremated.

Ah, but that’s the problem. Were the bodies unclaimed? Indymedia notes that the paper trail is non- existent. Was it destroyed? Were the bodies unclaimed because the families didn’t care, or was it because the families were not notified? Of course, even if a paper trail existed, such things are easily invented, as Harry Wu points out.

The Falun Gong claims half a million of their members have “disappeared”, presumably into prisons, so if they can’t find where these people went, how could families “claim” the bodies?

So why so few protests?

Well, there have been a few.

The Falun Gong have protested.

Harry Wu, of the Laogai Foundation, tries his best to keep people aware this atrocity and other human rights problem in the Laogai (concentration camp/prison system) of China.

“Yes, it is profitable, but it is immoral,” Wu said. “If I told you that your brother is No. 5 in the exhibit, how would you feel? The dead have rights. These people did not agree to give their body or body parts, and the dead should not be used for commercial interests.”

And one lowly employee at the Pittsburgh Science Center quit in protest. He name is Elaine Katz.

One is happy that there is one ethical person living in Pittsburgh.

Too bad none of the millions who viewed the exhibit care about such things as human dignity.

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