A highly controversial exhibition of corpses has hit Sydney, Australia, this April, and it consists of real bodies and body parts. Twenty full bodies and 200 anatomical parts are on display in “Real Bodies: The Exhibition,” and people of all ages are able to access the exhibition—even busloads of schoolchildren are being arranged to visit. The question remains—are these the bodies that once belonged to prisoners of conscience?
Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting spokesperson Sophia Bryskine says, “There are grave concerns that the bodies were not freely and willingly donated.”
“The origins of these bodies have been questioned and believed to come from China—either death row prisoners, or as suspected by independent investigators, tortured prisoners of conscience,” she added. “Falun Gong practitioners have been singled out as the most likely victims.”
Hundreds of schoolchildren will view the exhibition, and the organizers stand to make huge profits from admittance fees.
“The exhibit is intended to separate naive customers from their entry fees,” said David Kilgour, Canadian Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific and former prosecutor.
Mr. Kilgour was one of three researchers who produced the 2016 report “Bloody Harvest / The Slaughter” about Chinese state-sanctioned organ harvesting.
Mr. Kilgour told news.com.au that he and two other researchers—human rights lawyer David Matas and U.S.-based investigative reporter Ethan Gutmann—“worried greatly that none of what is claimed for the exhibits is correct.”
“Not a word is believable based on our research,” Kilgour said.
The three researchers have underlined the extreme discrepancies in the number of bodies donated in China with the number of corpses that are obtained at the Dalian Plastination Body Plant.
“Trafficking in human cadavers has become a business. Plastinated specimens are publicly priced and traded,” reads the report.
“The Government of China calls for bids on such trades.”
Dalian Medical University’s professor of anatomy, Hong Jin Sui, disagrees with this, and according to BRAG, said in a written statement that the bodies were obtained from the city morgue, then sent to various Chinese medical universities, and “ultimately were legally donated to the Dalian Hoffen Bio-technique Laboratory preservation, dissection and exhibition.”
When the exhibition appeared in Ireland in 2009, general secretary of the Joint Managerial Body for Secondary Schools in Ireland Ferdia Kelly suggested children be kept away from the exhibition. “Because of the concerns around how the bodies have been sourced and whether consent was available or not, schools should not bring students to the exhibition,” she said, according to The Irish Times. “I would be recommending schools not to support such a questionable commercial activity, because it is a commercial activity regardless of the educational aspect.”
Dr. Siobhán Ward, chief technical officer in the anatomy department at Trinity College Dublin, was also unsatisfied with the unanswered questions concerning consent.
“If anybody came in here and asked about our donors, I’d show them a signed donation form. That’s something you probably won’t see in that exhibition,” he said.
Standing outside the questionable exhibition, Greens MP Mr. David Shoebridge gave a strong speech and stated: “I say to the proprietors of this exhibition—if you say you have consent, show us the documentations, show us the chain of communication, and prove you have consent. No consent, no exhibition.”
Mr. Shoebridge said that the New South Wales police commissioner will be contacted for an “urgent investigation” into the exhibition’s potential breach of Section 81C of the Crimes Act.
He added: “We all believe in the dignity of human beings, and the dignity of people, and treating people with dignity and respect, both in life and in death—and this exhibition grossly breaches that principle.”
The amount of signatures for an online petition on Change.org shows the public’s disapproval over the controversial exhibition and the calling for its immediate closure.
Watch this speech given by Mr. David Shoebridge just outside the Real Bodies exhibition:
Photo Credit: Facebook | Thomas Dobson.