London corpse show raises concern

An exhibition of corpses from China has opened in London to teach people more about their bodies, organisers said, but concerns were raised about the identity of the dead.

    Twenty-two naked human bodies are on display

    Clutching a basketball, holding a baton or just sitting down -  these are some of the poses struck by 22 genuine human bodies, naked and with their organs and bones exposed, that form part of the display.
    "Bodies... The Exhibition", at Earls Court in west London, offers a rare glimpse of the insides of real human bodies, organisers said.
    More than 260 human organs are also showcased, including a bladder, a spleen, at least three hearts and a brain.
    Everything on display - from a five-week-old embryo to a woman standing star-shaped with her breasts and insides exposed - was once alive.
    Premier Exhibitions, the US firm behind the event, said it obtained the corpses legitimately from the Dalian Medical University in northeast China.

    Unclaimed bodies
    The people had died of natural causes, but their bodies were never claimed, which meant - as in other countries such as Britain - that they became government property to be used for educational or research purposes, said Roy Glover, chief medical adviser for the exhibition that opened on Wednesday.
    Asked why only Chinese bodies were used and not those from elsewhere, Glover said: "That is where the best dissectors in the world live and work."
    Skilled dissectors are vital to ensure a body is properly carved up to reveal the relevant parts and make the exhibition more educational for the public, said Glover, an anatomical expert who helped arrange the display.
    Three similar exhibitions of Chinese bodies are currently running in the United States and a fourth in Mexico City.

    Falun Gong
    Supporters of the Falun Gong group said, however, that they feared some of the bodies or body parts may have come from members of the spiritual sect who they claim have been held at prison camps in China and killed for their organs.
    About a dozen members of the European Friends of Falun Gong group demonstrated outside the exhibition, calling on the organisers to give them the identities of each body to ensure they had not been political prisoners.
    Bodies... The Exhibition mirrors the highly successful Body Worlds exhibition created by German professor Gunther von Hagens which went on display in London in 2002 and featured a similar selection of corpses and body parts.



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