Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH) – Media Release 18/04/2018
Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH) continues to raise concern over the unethical nature of The Real Bodies: The exhibition, currently on display in Sydney’s Moore Park Byron Kennedy Hall. This is especially alarming as NSW schools are taking children on excursions to see the display of 20 human corpses and over 200 body specimens.
We are urgently seeking transparency from the organiser, Imagine Exhibitions Inc. over the origins of the specimens and valid consent documentation from the deceased and/or their families.
“Until such documentation is provided, we can’t in good conscience expose our children and the community to such an immoral and base commercial exploitation of the deceased. It undermines the moral fibre of society.
“This is inhumane and there are multiple first-world countries which are rectifying this apparent abuse. This is not about science, art or education. Such an unethical display is making a mockery of human dignity and the deceased,” says DAFOH spokesperson Sophia Bryskine.
Members of Parliament and NGOs are expected to make statements, raising their concerns about the exhibition.
DAFOH focuses on promoting ethics in medicine, particularly raising awareness in the area of unethical transplantation in China. We believe this exhibit is closely linked to the well documented violations, where unwilling organ donors become vulnerable victims of abuse.
“It is an insult to science and medicine – it is our duty of care to raise valid questions and demand valid answers. This case compromises the Hippocratic oath to ensure that this gross act is halted as soon as possible” says Sophia Bryskine.
We refer to the statements made by Imagine Exhibitions CEO Mr Tom Zaller (see here SBS report).
“To imply such an exhibit is for educational purpose and could inspire children to take up medicine, is no different to exposing a child to a crime scene,which is supposed to then instigate a degree in law and order.
“Such an inference is unreasonable and poor taste of judgment. Furthermore, this instance is not like showcasing King Tut or the mummies, we are talking about real people in real time and not about historical artefacts.”
Key factual points and background information:
It is our understanding that the presenters, Imagine Exhibitions Inc., have not been able to provide valid documentation to prove the bodies’ origins, according to the Newscorp report dated April 10. The same inability to provide appropriate documentation was reported during the 2017 exhibition in Prague and Slovakia.
Investigative reports have pointed to the questionable origin of the bodies — a large amount of which were created by a university in Dalian, China — suggesting that the cadavers came from executed political prisoners and dissenters. It is important to note that the German weekly Der Spiegel cited the inventor of plastination, Gunter Von Hagen, that the bodies from Dalian were “very fresh”, a criteria that is preferred in the plastination process. In accordance with China’s law a body can be classified as “unclaimed” if it remains in the morgues for 30 days – a duration too long for the plastination process to be successful.
Mr Zaller categorising the bodies to be “unclaimed” from the Dalian Public Security Bureau only raises more questions and increases the need for a thorough investigation. This statement does not address the potential use of political prisoners or prisoners of conscience in the exhibition. In fact the creator of plastination Gunther Von Hagens in his Institute of Plastination report (see page 29 of Report.) documented from the onset that it is important that the body needs to arrive at a plastination facility no later than 2-3 days after death (at the latest 10 days in cold weather conditions) in order to be usable (not decomposed and not preserved with chemicals). Based on this premise, it is reasonable to suggeset that there must be an intent to use the body before death or at the latest straight after death, not 30 days after sitting “unclaimed” in a morgue.
In 2010, France’s highest court, the French Supreme Court declared the commercial exhibition of human remains illegal, effectively closing down all such exhibits. Two years later, the Israeli Supreme Court issued a similar ruling. Hawaii banned the shows, as did city councils in Seattle and elsewhere.
New York forced an exhibitor in 2008 to place a sign at the front of its show admitting that it could not prove the provenance of its bodies, and demanded that all future shows arrive with complete documentation of the bodies.
China’s track record of abuse in the area of organ transplantation has been well documented by governments, media and independent investigators. The latest evidence compiled in the 2016 report by David Kilgour, Ethan Guttman, and David Matas indicates that China performs up to 100,000 transplants a year, while having a very underdeveloped public donation scheme.
For more information: www.dafoh.org