A museum exhibition, which features cadavers of real humans, is currently the subject of controversy in the United Kingdom amid concerns that the bodies belonged to murdered Chinese political prisoners.
Showcased at the Birmingham NEC, “Real Bodies: The Exhibition” displays skinless preserved bodies from China.
Allegations that the corpses are from people who were once detained and tortured in Chinese labor camps before being killed by the government have sparked calls for an investigation while they are still in the U.K.
Campaigners are urging authorities to look into the identities of the individual bodies and their causes of death.
Imagine Exhibitions, the organizer of the exhibit, reportedly sourced the bodies from Dalian Medical University Biology Plantation in China.
In a statement, Dalian Medical University Anatomy professor Hong-Jin Sui said the specimens were “originally received from the city morgue and then transferred to medical universities in China and ultimately were legally donated to the Dalian Hoffen Bio-technique Laboratory preservation, dissection, and exhibition.”
However, City Hospital Birmingham consultant neurologist Dr. David Nicholl pointed out that the university’s facilities are incidentally “within driving distance” of labor and prison camps in the city of Dalian, the South China Morning Post reports.
“I have huge questions about why all these unclaimed bodies come from Dalian in sizeable numbers and how many bodies Imagine Exhibitions have actually got,” Nicholl was quoted as saying.
“My own registrar went to this exhibition. I asked him to note down the gender and age of the bodies. They are all young men – none of them are elderly, which I have to say is pretty suspicious given that there are a number of labor camps within a matter of hours’ drive of Dalian.
“If you look at these exhibitions they are never gender-balanced – it’s always largely men. Most people who die, die when they’re older, so to have an exhibition like this is really suspicious.”
“I think the public is being conned,” he added. “Why are we having exhibitions like this in this country if they can’t prove consent?”
In a bid to shut the exhibition down, Nicholl along with other doctors, human rights activists, MPs, and Lords, signed a letter to British Prime Minister Theresa May to take action.
Imagine Exhibitions has brought the exhibition to different parts of the world, gaining similar criticism at each stop.
However, the company’s president, Tom Zaller, dismissed such suspicions as “fake news.”
“I refuse to entertain these ridiculous accusations without a shred of evidence to back these baseless claims,” he said.
Back in 2005, a similar exhibition called “Bodies: The Exhibition” opened in Tampa, Florida.
Operated by a firm called “Premier Exhibitions,” the show also featured dead human bodies from China.
American news platforms would report on a “black market” in Chinese cadavers and organs a year later, sparking a congressional inquiry and an investigation by then-New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.
The investigation resulted in the resignation of Premier’s CEO Arnie Geller and the inclusion of notices on the front page of the exhibition website about the presumed origin of the bodies and fetuses that said it “relies solely on the representations of its Chinese partners” and “cannot independently verify” that the bodies do not belong to executed prisoners.
Featured Image via Instagram / realbodiesau
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