Cadaver show organisers will sue protesters

The organisers of a controversial exhibition of human remains in London warned yesterday that they may take legal action if a Chinese sect persists in claims that the body parts may have been removed from their members.

Half-a-dozen members of Falun Gong, which is outlawed in China, staged a quiet protest outside the exhibition on its opening day at Earl’s Court yesterday to ask for proof that the remains had not come from Chinese dissidents or political prisoners.

The gaggle of protesters waved a placard saying “China: Auschwitz”. Zek Halu, a member of the Friends of Falun Gong Europe Association, told The Daily Telegraph: “We are very concerned that we don’t know where the bodies come from.

“Many followers of Falun Gong are missing in China. We don’t know if they are part of this exhibition or not.”

The exhibition is showing 22 corpses, 250 human organs and more than a dozen foetuses.

Tom Zaller, the vice-president of Premier Exhibitions, the American company staging the show, insisted that all the remains had been “borrowed” from a legitimate Chinese medical institute.

“We have been given every assurance and every indemnity you could ask for that the remains all came from people who died from natural causes,” he said.

“If their campaign hurts our company, we will not hesitate to take legal action against them. We are not afraid to do that but we don’t want to do that.”

Premier Exhibitions, which has three similar shows running in America and another in Mexico, has paid a $25 million fee to the Dalian Medical University of Plastination Laboratories in China to lease the cadavers and organs for five years.

Each body and part has been preserved with polymers – a treatment pioneered at Dalian. At the Earl’s Court exhibition, flayed bodies are shown whole or sliced to display the musculature and organs of the human body.

Mr Zaller said yesterday that the exhibition was not a freak show but was a serious attempt to educate people about the human body and draw attention to how the body is abused. Among the exhibits are diseased lungs and livers and bodies sliced up to demonstrate obesity.

His company had been assured that the bodies came from Chinese people who had died naturally but who had no next of kin or whose identities were unknown.

The Chinese government had, as was normal in other parts of the world, passed them to universities and medical schools for scientific research, he added.

Falun Gong is a sect, partly inspired by Buddhism and Taoism, that says it seeks enlightenment through spirituality and meditation.

It claims that its members are persecuted in China, that thousands have disappeared, that at least 6,000 have been murdered and that many, alive and dead, have had organs removed for sale to the West.

It also claims that Dalian lies close to three labour camps where it believes that members have been taken.

Ling Dee, another protester at the exhibition, said: “We are very concerned about the sources of these bodies. We want the names of these people. I hope that the UK Government will also do some investigation into this

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Telegraph, UK
Apr. 13, 2006
Nigel Reynolds, Arts Correspondent

Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday April 13, 2006.
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