ABC NEWS: Cincinnati Museum Center’s Bodies Exhibit may be using executed prisoners

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.

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  • Reply cinplify.com February 15, 2008 at 9:10 am

    ABC NEWS: Cincinnati Museum Center’s Bodies Exhibit using executed prisoners

    ABC News 20/20 report states that Premier Exhibitions, the company producing the Bodies the Exhibition currently shown at the Cincinnati Museum Center uses executed prisoners. New York’s Attorney General has opened an investigation. Subpoena’s have b…

  • Reply Mark Ballard February 15, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    Right on the money – there is something wrong about this exibit and I could not put my finger on it. You have placed that finger. It shows another lack of respect for the Human – the human body is far more than a storage house for organs. The human body is a place for Spirit.
    Go get ’em! You should take pride in your position.
    Mark S. Ballard

  • Reply MT February 15, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    Thank you for your support! We appreciate it!

  • Reply Sarah February 21, 2008 at 12:18 am

    Anna Schecter has written an update. Everyone should write to their Congressmen to support NJ Congressman Christopher Smith’s urge to the US Attorney General that Congress should probe these exhibits. Don’t let this guy stand out there alone!
    “It has every mark of executions and abuse,” said Congressman Christopher Smith, R-N.J., referring to Premier Exhibition’s display of “unclaimed” bodies from China…”There needs to be a moratorium immediately. There is something very very wrong here.”
    Lawmakers Call for Congress to Probe Bodies Shows in Wake of ’20/20′ Report

  • Reply Dyane Kirkland March 13, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Reading the comments, it seems we are dealing with a contradiction. If the body houses a Spirit, the Spirit is not the body. As rape victims and others are told, what happens to the body is just that – something that happens to the body. Spirit is not touched by transgressions against the physical form.
    Time to separate the worth of human beings and their Spirits from the physical form – which is just a shell full of interesting bits from which quite a bit can be learned. I realize Western religions do not stress this difference, but it does seem to be inferred in all the major religious philosophies – one reason why martyrs saved their spirits/souls at the expense of their shells/bodies.
    Let’s consider this a learning experience in several ways. Investigate if you like – but keep it in perspective. If we can stuff animals and put them on display, why are human animals any different?

  • Reply MT March 13, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Everyone has different beliefs. So, while you may think it’s ok, that’s just your belief. Did anyone stop and think what the beliefs of the Chinese that were on display? If they’re going to show bodies, they should at the very least show bodies of people who give their express consent. That way you know that you have at least acknowledged their beliefs.

  • Leave a Reply to MT Cancel Reply