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China Focus S1 • E30

Gu Kailai, Bo Xilai, and Plastination Exhibits Using Executed Prisoners

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Published on Aug 16, 2012

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China's Gu Kailai and Bo Xilai may have been involved in facilitating the use of executed prisoners' bodies in worldwide plastination exhibits.

Part 2 at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPyfgL...

You've probably heard the controversy surrounding the international exhibitions that display plastinated human bodies—a controversy over where the bodies came from.

Well now, an inside source has told NTD that Bo Xilai and Gu Kailai were involved in facilitating the sale of unclaimed human bodies—people who did not give consent.

We're talking about Bo Xilai, the ousted Chinese Communist Party secretary, and his wife Gu Kailai, who was recently tried for murdering a British citizen.

So we set out to verify this information. We'll tell you what we know, what's unconfirmed but is logically the most likely, and what still needs further investigation.

The technique for plastinating human bodies was developed by this guy: German doctor Gunther von Hagens. He visited the city of Dalian in China's Liaoning Province in 1993, after contacting Sui Hongjin (隋鸿锦), an assistant professor at Dalian Medical University. The two built a relationship. And in December 1996, von Hagens accepted a visiting professorship at Dalian Medical University.

A few years later, von Hagens set up a plastination company called von Hagens Dalian Plastination Ltd, and hired Sui as his general manager. There's conflicting info about when von Hagens founded the company, though. Von Hagens' Body Worlds website claims it was in 2001, but company registration documents show that the Dalian city government approved the company in August 1999—while Bo Xilai was still mayor of Dalian.

According to this report from the Dalian Medical University News Online, in September 1999, the mayor of Dalian awarded von Hagens the title of "Honorary Citizen of Dalian." Presumably, that's because von Hagens had just invested millions of dollars to start his company there.

It also means that Bo Xilai knew von Hagens, and probably on a personal level too. After Bo was appointed mayor in 1993, Bo had pushed hard to attract foreign investment.

And von Hagens became quite successful. His Dalian body-processing plant became his biggest. According to an interview in 2003, von Hagens told Chinese state-run Oriental Outlook magazine that his Dalian plant brought in up to 80% of his entire profits at the time. Those profits came from his worldwide exhibits of the plastinated bodies, called Body Worlds.

But von Hagens eventually had a falling out with Sui Hongjin, his general manager. The New York Times reports that, while working for von Hagens, Sui secretly set up his own body plastination plant, and von Hagens fired him after he found out.

In June 2002, Sui officially registered his plastination company—one that directly competed with von Hagens'. He called it Dalian Medical University Plastination Co. Dalian Medical University was originally a 70% owner, but a few years later the university distanced itself from it and sold its stake. In 2004 or 2005, Sui reincorporated it offshore (in the British Virgin Islands) under private ownership as Dalian Hoffen Bio Technique Co, Ltd.

So now there were competing companies in Dalian, dedicated to processing human corpses for plastination and export. Von Hagens' company used many of them for his Body Worlds exhibit. And Atlanta-based Premier Exhibitions paid $25 million to secure bodies from one or both of Sui Hongjin's companies. Premier now holds its Bodies: The Exhibition show in New York City, among other places. Both von Hagens and Sui also sold specimens for other purposes.

So where did they get the bodies? And where do Bo Xilai and Gu Kailai fit in?

Well, von Hagens claims that the bodies in all of his exhibits were voluntarily donated. And many of them appear Caucasian, not Chinese. In 2008, he told ABC's 20/20 that he cremated some of the bodies he received in China once he learned they were from executed prisoners. But still, when Oriental Outlook reporter Yu Jintao visited his plant in 2003, she expressed suspicion that the company didn't let them photograph the faces of any of the corpses.

Now, the source of Sui Hongjin's bodies is murkier. He told Chinese media in 2004 that all of his bodies came from medical schools, and that the people died of natural causes, and were abandoned or unclaimed. That already means there was no voluntary consent. It's unclear what Chinese law says about allowing unclaimed bodies to be given to medical schools—but in practice they can often get unclaimed bodies from the local police. But it gets shadier...

Full Script at: http://ntdtv.org/en/news/china/china-...

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