Thursday, 11 October 2012

Von Hagens faces investigation over use of bodies without consent

 November 18, 2003           

              The most serious charge against him, and the one that has proved most persistent, is that the bodies in his exhibitions were taken, not given. It has been alleged that his corpses include executed prisoners from China and inmates of psychiatric institutions in Kyrgyzstan obtained without their relatives' consent. He insists that all were given freely but the accusations keep recurring.

               Mr Taschtanbekow claims that in most cases obligatory autopsies of the bodies were not carried out and relatives were not informed that the bodies were being sent to Professor von Hagens's institute.

                Heidelberg University accused him of giving the impression that he was carrying the title of a German professor by calling himself "Professor Gunther von Hagens Körperwelten" (Körperwelten is German for Body Worlds), an allegation now under investigation by the Heidelberg district attorney.

Von Hagen forced to return controversial corpses to China

January 23, 2004 

               The controversial German anatomist Gunther von Hagens last night agreed to return seven corpses to China after admitting that the bodies used in his exhibitions might have come from executed prisoners. 

                The German magazine Der Spiegel revealed that at least two corpses out of some 647 stored by the anatomist at his centre in China had bullet holes in their skulls.

                "But I'm telling you, not even a bullet hole in the body can be proof that that person was sentenced to death. Out of all 650 bodies, seven had head injuries. This is completely normal, seeing the number of bodies."
                He added: "I can't prove the bodies weren't executed, but I believe they weren't." He said he received his bodies from Chinese officials but could not be sure of their origins.

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Secret Trade in Chinese Bodies

February 14, 2008

             The German doctor who invented the process that led to hundreds of human bodies being put on display around the world, says he has stopped using bodies from China because some of them may be those of executed Chinese prisoners.

                In an interview to be aired Friday on the ABC News program "20/20," Dr. Gunther von Hagens also says an underground black market is providing bodies to Chinese companies that export them to the U.S. and Europe, despite a 2006 Chinese law prohibiting the export of human bodies for commercial purposes.

The bodies are shown skinned and trimmed, in a variety of poses, including playing poker or at a chess board.

                Von Hagens says he had to cremate several bodies he received in China after detecting injuries that led him to suspect they had been executed prisoners. He says those bodies were given to him by a medical school in China to plastinate for teaching models. He said he only used Chinese bodies, all of which he received from the Chinese university, for teaching models, but has never put Chinese bodies on public display.

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