Sun, Jul 18, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Preserved Chinese corpses displayed in Kaohsiung

DPA , TAIPEI

An exhibition of preserved Chi-nese corpses opened in Kaohsiung yesterday, becoming the second human body show to open in Taiwan since German doctor Gunther von Hagens opened his body show in Taipei in April.

Cheng Chin-ting (鄭進丁), director of the Kaohsiung Education Bureau, opened the show -- called Body Exploration -- at the National Science and Technology Museum in Kaohsiung. The show of 287 organ specimens and 22 bodies will run until Jan. 2.

"This is a very interesting exhibition because it is an education on anatomy. It is worth visiting again and again," Cheng said at the opening ceremony.

The show is organized by Taiwan's Ginko Medical and Science Corporation, which helped Chinese hospitals and medical colleges preserve the bodies using plastination technology -- deep-freezing the bodies, sawing them into thin slices, dehydrating them, saturating them with polymer and curing them with gas, light or heat.

The company laid to rest suspicion in the media that the bodies were those of executed Chinese political prisoners, arguing that they are unclaimed bodies found at Chinese hospitals.

"We obtained export permission from China's Health Ministry and the Chinese Society of Anatomy. This is part of a medical exchange between Taiwan and China," Chen said.

"The purpose of the show is to make people realize how precious life is and make them treasure life," he said.

Chen said that at the moment, he has no plan to take the exhibition to foreign countries after it closes in Taiwan.

"But we would like to give some of the organ specimens and bodies to Taiwanese medical schools after the exhibition," he said.

The body show in Kaohsiung is the third corpse show in the world after the original show launched by von Hagens and a Chinese corpse show run by Sui Hongjin, former manager for von Hagens. Sui launched his own show after leaving von Hagens in 2000.

Von Hagens has several sets of human organ specimens and bodies -- donated by people from all over the world -- so that he can hold several shows at the same time.

Right now he has one show in Taipei and another in Frankfurt. Hagen's show in Taipei -- called Body Worlds -- opened on April 21 and will run until Oct. 24. Sui Hongjin held his human corpse exhibition in Beijing in April.

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