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Corpse Exhibition Opens in Beijing

An exhibition of 20 human corpses and assorted body parts, entitled "Real Body -- Mystery and Health," opened at the China Architectural Culture Center in Beijing on April 8. The bodies on display were prepared by Dr. Sui Hongjin, who studied for a year under German Professor Gunther von Hagens, the creator of the "body plastination" technique.


The Real Body exhibition, consisting of around 20 corpses displayed on stands in various poses, along with 160 body parts, is held under the auspices of Chinese Society for Anatomical Sciences. This is the first time the exhibition has been shown in Beijing.


All the bodies have had skin removed to reveal the muscles, flesh and organs beneath and are displayed on stands in interesting poses.


The organizers tentatively plan to stay in Beijing for four months and are considering a nationwide tour.


Sui Hongjin is the vice director of Dalian Medical University's Anatomy Department and the general manager of a plastination subsidiary of the university. He helps his company acquire corpse samples in China.


Gunther von Hagens, a controversial German anatomist who works from universities in Kyrgyzstan and China, invented the process he calls plastination in 1977. The lengthy procedure involves replacing all body fluids with special plastics in a vacuum to make the bodies rigid, odorless and permanently preserved in lifelike poses.


Sui says the exhibition is held to educate lay people on the mysteries of the human body. He insists that all corpses and body parts have been loaned from medical university collections.


Reportedly, no one in China has yet indicated any willingness to donate their body for plastination display.


(China.org.cn by Li Liangdu, April 8, 2004)


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