UPDATE: For the latest news, please visit Boycott Bodies the Exhibition
Summary: ABC News 20/20 report states that Premier Exhibitions, the company producing the Bodies the Exhibition currently shown at Museum Center may be using executed prisoners. New York’s Attorney General has opened an investigation. Subpoena’s have been issued today.
From Kansas City Star: More questions raised about origins of bodies on exhibit
However, the focus of the “20/20” report, airing at 9 tonight on KMBC-TV, is on discoveries that Ross made during a recent visit to China. In an interview Thursday, Ross said that university officials in Dalian told him that, contrary to Premier’s assertions, they were not the sole supplier of cadavers to “Bodies: The Exhibition.” That show is Premier’s highest-profile anatomical exhibition and has just begun a seven-month run at the Cincinnati Museum Center.
“We found in fact they don’t come from the university but from a company on the outskirts of town in a series of ramshackle warehouses on a dirt road,” Ross said. “It’s run by somebody who’s a professor at the university, but it’s not the business of the university. The question is, where does he get the bodies?”
Ross said he visited the compound briefly, before officials ejected him and his crew, and interviewed a former employee who said that at least a third of the cadavers he processed were bodies of executed prisoners. That’s an allegation human rights groups have made about anatomical traveling shows and one that Premier has repeatedly denied. In 2006, Arnie Geller, the CEO of Premier, told The New York Times, “We traced the whole process. None of these would be executed prisoners.”
Ross said that’s what a Premier official told him, too. But he said the ex-employee is certain of the corpses’ provenance, “because he was involved in going around China picking them up.
From WCPO Channel 9 Cincinnati 11:00PM 2/14/08 News:
“The Bodies exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center has drawn thousands of curious visitors since it opened this month but a new ABC investigation reports an underground black market is providing the bodies.”
From Good Morning America 7:30AM 2/15/08
New York Attorney General is probing Premier Exhibitions and has issues subpoenas today.
From ABCNews.com: Exclusive: Secret Trade in Chinese Bodies
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.
A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said it was investigating the allegations.
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.
“There is now no way for me any more to work with specimens in China,” said von Hagens, who says his company in China now only deals with animal specimens.