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Exclusive: Secret Trade in Chinese Bodies

Body Exhibit Inventor Says He's Stopped Using Bodies From China Because Some of Them May Be Those of Executed Prisoners


In 1995, he opened the first public display in Tokyo and has since made millions of dollars with shows around the world that have provoked considerable controversy.

"You're going to be entertained by looking at dead bodies, by looking at cadavers that have been put in the most atrocious poses for our entertainment," said Rabbi Louis Feldstein of Atlanta.

Feldstein says it violates a standard of "respect for the life that was lived."

Earlier this month, the California Assembly passed and sent to the Senate, legislation that would require body shows to have proof that each body had been donated with "informed consent."

"As a person of Chinese descent, I just don't believe any family would consent to have their kin shown this way," said the bill's author, Assemblywoman Fiona Ma.

"The skin is ripped off; body parts are exposed so that someone else could be making millions of dollars looking at them," she said.

Dr. von Hagens says he strongly supports the California legislation and says it should be the standard worldwide.

"Especially as a German, with [our country's] Nazi past, I have to refrain to avoid the tiniest, little strand of any doubt that I am guilty of unethical conduct," he said.

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