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'Body Worlds' doc says 'no' to Chinese bodies

February 17, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
The doctor behind the "Body Worlds" exhibits that show cadavers in different poses says he has stopped using bodies from China for fear that some of them may be executed prisoners, ABC News reported on Friday. Dr. Gunther von Hagens told ABC's "20/20" that he had to destroy some bodies he had received from China because they had injuries that made him suspect they were execution victims.

The doctor invented a liquid plastic process that preserves bodies. He has put many of them on display in museum exhibits that show them in poses like playing poker or throwing a football.

One such exhibit opened Jan. 18 at the Milwaukee Public Museum and has had 100,000 people pay to see it so far, Dan Finley, president of the nonprofit company that operates the museum, told The Associated Press.

"It's the biggest exhibition we've ever done," he said. "The best attended."

Finley said every specimen in his exhibit was there with informed consent. He said it was his understanding that 8,000 people have volunteered to have their bodies - which are skinned for the exhibit - used in future "Body Worlds" shows.

Finley said he sees no problem with the shows themselves or von Hagens' work.

"We would defend his specimens as ethical," Finley said.

 

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