Boycott Bodies the Exhibition Cincinnati

What is Bodies the Exhibition?
Bodies the Exhibition is an exhibition running at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal through September 1, 2008.  It is an exhibit of approximately 20 dissected Chinese human bodies that have had the skin removed, plasticized, and posed.

What is the Controversy?
The human remains used in this exhibit are all Chinese bodies that have been used without consent.  There is evidence that these bodies may have been executed prisoners and purchased from the black market in China.  In China, executed prisoners may include religious practitioners and political dissidents.

These bodies are not donated bodies, but bodies taken without their expressed consent.

NY Attorney General Cuomo stated on May 29, 2008
"The grim reality is that Premier Exhibitions has profited from displaying the remains of individuals who may have been tortured and executed in China," said Attorney General Cuomo. 

"Despite repeated denials, we now know that Premier itself cannot demonstrate the circumstances that led to the death of the individuals.  Nor is Premier able to establish that these people consented to their remains being used in this manner.  Respect for the dead and respect for the public requires that Premier do more than simply assure us that there is no reason for concern.  This settlement is a start."
Premier Exhibitions, Inc. is not a medical school, but a for profit, publicly traded exhibition company.  Before arriving in Cincinnati, Bodies the Exhibition was shown in the following shopping malls and casino:

Las Vegas: Tropicana Resort & Casino
New York, South Street Seaport (Dining & Entertainment Center)
San Diego, University Towne Center (Mall)
Columbus, OH, Easton Market (Mall- Exhibit in was in a closed CompUSA)
Framingham, MA (Mall- Exhibit in was in a closed CompUSA)
Durham, NC, Streets at Southpoint (Mall)

In the name of education, Premier Exhibitions, Inc. has created a profit making machine on the bodies of the dead.  A modern version of the 19th century traveling sideshow.

Ethics and Education
Some try to justify the exhibit because of education.  Current technology is good enough that you could create plastic models that look pretty much identical to these human bodies.  Would people pay $23 to see plastic models?  If not, ask yourself why not?  Having real deceased bodies is the draw, like a modern day "freak show".

The use of real donated bodies in medicine is acceptable because it is used in the training of doctors.  Bodies that have been donated to science are treated in a dignified manner and then buried or cremated.

Education has been used to justify many horrific wrongs.  Were Nazi experiments on the Jews educational?  Probably.  Knowledge of the human body was gained but brutally, with the cost paid in human lives.  Our own government experimented on African Americans in the Tuskegee experiments to see what effect Syphilis had on the human body.  They where human guinea pigs, since there was already a cure for Syphilis at the time.

Ethics is absolutely important when dealing with education and the human body.  We need to know that whenever a human body is used that we have acted in the highest and most ethical manner.

Why does this matter?
There are many human rights questions that must be examined in China.  Currently, the prison system in China allows for labor camps that may hold political dissidents or religious practitioners.  Some of these prisoners refuse to give their names because of fear of retribution that may be brought against their families. 

Two things that are happening in China today should horrify all Americans.  One, forced prison labor is being used to create consumer products that we purchase today and two, the black market of organ transplantation in China.  China is the second largest organ transplanter in the world, but they do not have a donor registry.  The majority of these organs are obtained from executed prisoners.

The ethical issues surrounding the Bodies the Exhibition is a symptom of the greater issues in China.  If organs can be procured from the black market, why is it surprising that human corpses are procured in the same way?

Why should Bodies the Exhibition be closed?
Premier Exhibitions has admitted to using "unclaimed bodies" for this exhibit. Not only do these individuals not give consent, but there is evidence that these bodies may be of executed prisoners purchased off of the black market.

From the NY Attorney General:
Despite repeated denials, we now know that Premier itself cannot demonstrate the circumstances that led to the death of the individuals.
Instead of acting in the highest ethical manner, Premier is profiting off of the unconsenting dead.  The dead should be treated with respect and this show absolutely does not do that.

Latest News:
6/18/08: From Cincinnati Enquirer: Museum dodges dialogue on 'Bodies'

Bodies the Exhibition: Myths and Facts
Lawmakers are calling for Congress to probe bodies shows in the wake of ABC News "20/20" report on the black market of bodies coming from China to be put on display across the United States.

From Cincinnati Enquirer: Bill would ban 'Bodies' imports
From Lawmakers Call for Crackdown on Bodies Exhibits

Contact your Congressman and ask them to support bill H.R. 5677 to prohibit the importation into the United States of plastinated human remains.

Congressman Steve Chabot, Ohio's 1st District
Cincinnati Office
3003 Carew Tower
441 Vine Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 684-2723
(513) 421-8722 (fax)

Congresswoman Jean Schmidt, Ohio's 2nd District
Cincinnati Office
8044 Montgomery Rd. Suite 540
Cincinnati, OH 45236
(513) 791-0381
(800) 784-6366 Toll Free
Fax: (513) 791-1696

Congressman John Boehner, Ohio's 8th District
Butler County Office
7969 Cincinnati-Dayton Road
Suite B
West Chester, OH  45069
(513) 779-5400
(513) 779-5315 fax

Resources and more information:

News and Opinion If only these bodies could talk
NYTimes: China Turns Out Mummified Bodies for Displays
The Epoch Times: 'BODIES . . . The Exhibit' is Gruesome Show of Unidentified Dead
NYTimes: Cadaver Exhibition Raises Questions Beyond Taste Education or freak show? 'Bodies ... The Exhibition' cashes in on our own curiosity
Pittsburgh Post Gazette: China 'Bodies' exhibit raises hackles here
RedOrbit: Museum Plans to Open Corpse Show in Fla. $10,000 reward posted to find who stole kidney from display First Person: Exploiting the poor beyond death

Cincinnati specific articles
5/20/08 Cincinnati Enquirer: Bill would ban 'Bodies' imports
5/18/08 Cincinnati Enquirer: Amazing Wu still speaking up
5/14/08 My Impressions of seeing Harry Wu, Human Rights activist
2/14/08 Cincinnati Enquirer: 20/20 digs deep into 'Bodies'
2/10/08 Cincinnati Enquirer: Here are a few things you ought to know about those 'Bodies'
From Bodies ...The Exhibition Draws Criticism (VIDEO)
From Bodies ...The Exhibition Draws Criticism (Story)
Cincinnati Enquirer: Archbishop says no to 'Bodies' exhibit
Cincinnati Enquirer: 'Bodies' exhibits troubling ethical issues
Cincinnati Enquirer: Exhibit to show real bodies
DocGrubb's opinion piece
Cincinnati Enquier: Bizarre 'Bodies' left me queasy
BorgBlog: Bodies: The Exhibition
Cincinnati Enquirer: Plasticized bodies disrespect our value of people as spiritual beings
Cincinnati Enquirer: Protesting 'Bodies' exhibit
Bodies the Exhibition in Cincinnati doesn't accept donor bodies
Fairfield Echo: Badin not planning on attending 'bodies' exhibit

Protest and Information Sites
Stop Body Worlds and other exhibits of plasticized bodies
The Anti-BODIES Virtual Protest Site
No Bodies 4 Profit The Mystery of the Crying Cadavers

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Mr. Tsai,

I hope that your protest is extremely productive and that the people of Cincinnati hear what you are saying.

If you would like to add my web site to the list of protesting resources on your web site, please feel free to do so. The more cross-marketing we do for each other, the better.

Here's the URL:

The Anti-BODIES Virtual Protest Site

Elaine Catz

"The dead men walking"? No,Premier Exhibitions Company and the Cincinnati Museum Center make them walking to profit the company.
See the ads even show the company's tick code as PRXI for investors to put in money to buy its stock. Many major museums in the States have refused its exhibition, it's unfortunate and disgraceful that our Museum Center wants the bloody money.

It's really sad that people do such things under the cover of art and education. With the advancement of technology, there are so many ways to present the wonders of human body virtually, more interactively and educationally.

What makes it the worst is that the bodies originated from China, where there are still hundreds of labor camps, in which people dye of hard labor, malnutrition, torture and even organ harvesting every day. Are these people criminals? Their crimes are either too minor to be sent to jail or their only crime is their affliation with underground churches or the spiritual movement - Falun Gong. The goals of the labor camps are to break these people down and make a profit along the way.

Don't let your curiosity win, let your conscience win. Let's boycott the unethical exhibition together.


Thanks for visiting my site. It took me a moment to figure out who you were! I really admire your conviction to leave your job as Education Coordinator of the Carnegie Science Center after working there for 11 years. That took a lot of courage. I wish more people had the courage that you showed.


In Elaine's words:

Why dont you go into the Museum, you may actually learn something. Wait......I dont remember seeing the lung capacity of an adult baby that should be at work, but instead spends their free time crying....hmmm

I actually did see the exhibit, on Friday before it opened to the general public. And I did meet and speak with the chief medical consultant Roy Glover.

I personally am pro-education, pro-science. But I think with science and education, ethics are essential. We're coming to a point where we're going to have many discussions on biology and ethics- human cloning, eugenics, organ harvesting, genetically modified foods, etc. To always trust that scientists and companies are always looking out for the common good is something we all should be careful about.

We used to do experiments on the mentally retarded. That's educational, but was it right? No. The Germans experimented on the Jews. They learned stuff. Was that right? No. There's a right way to do things and get the same results. Why not do things the right way and get bodies of people who at least consented.

I would say that trying to educate about the idea that it is wrong to use bodies without consent is a worthy one. With China's human rights issues, we should be very careful about not supporting any thing that could be questionable in nature.

If you're going to spend time commenting on someone's blog, at least bring something to the table.

Interesting that there is an advertisement on the right side of the article titled "Looking for Bodies The Exhibition" with the following website.

Yeah, this site is my blog and the Google Ads mirror what I write about. I need to figure out how to block these specific ads.

I visited the museum yesterday thinking I would be educated and my husband and children would learn a few things about the human body and how it works. I was extremely disgusted when I saw the first body in a position of hitch hiking. Maybe that wasn’t the intention but that is what I saw. I have seen organs, autopsies, and surgery in person. None of that compared to this exhibition. There was an overwhelming feeling of death in those rooms. The bodies were not preserved well. A healthy organ does not look shriveled and decomposed. The muscle does not normally look like beef jerky. The bodies were dried out and looked like they had started to decompose prior to being picked up for preservation. I made it through a few of the rooms before leaving. My husband and children continued through the exhibition and met me at the end. I decided to go back in and then saw a baby curled up in a fetal position and I left for good. I feel this was a morbid attempt to make money by using “unclaimed or unidentified” humans instead of an attempt to educate the public. While some of the displays were educational most were not. Later last night my husband could not stop thinking about the bodies. He also feels the way I do. We have and will continue to tell everyone we know don’t go. What could have been a highly educational display of the human body turned out to be a disgusting display of death.

Thank you for writing. You should share your thoughts with the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Museum Center. Also, you can call the Museum Center and ask for a refund if you were dissatisfied with the exhibit. Writing to your local school board with this is also helpful.

Hi Morris,

I'm so impressed with what you have been doing. Keep up the good work. I just wanted to encourage everyone to write to their Congressmen, urging their support of NJ Congressman Christopher Smith's action against these exhibits. Anna Schecter wrote a powerful update to the Feb 15 report that Rep. Smith is urging the US Attorney General to open a probe into the exhibits.

See her report at

Lawmakers Call for Congress to Probe Bodies Shows in Wake of '20/20' Report


My friends and I would like to join you if you have another picket at the Cincy Museum Center. We recently attended the exhibition and had no idea what we were about to encounter, thinking it was truly an educational rather than exploitative experience. We left sickened, saddened, and depressed. We felt dirty both physically and morally. Let us know at my LJ account how we can help.

A New Day Has Dawned in Connecticut
by Edward R. Mortimer

The 1st Annual Quinebaug Valley Community College Arts & Science Entertainment Expedition to see the flayed, sliced and diced human beings on display will soon set off for fun and games! Tittering students will drive off to Hartford to stare, ogle and gawk to the full extent of their school-funded discount price. What a bargain! Where else, for only ten U.S. Dollars, can you see humans scientifically, but artfully, ripped open, cut into pieces and posed in oh so delicate ways without all that bloody mess that usually accompanies such activities? Why, it's almost religious in the experience!

Somebody ought to market this, they could make a mint. Besides being fun it could perform a valuable public service. Just imagine Plastinating Body Shop franchises popping up next to McDonalds everywhere. Bring in your dead, and for less than the cost of a funeral, plastinate that loved one for permanent display as a lawn ornament. Wonderful! Put wheels on them so they can be easily taken in and out of storage. Pose them in their favourite team's uniform, and trot them out for every home game! Take them to tailgating parties! Use them to scare off burglars, or crows. Or, for sweet revenge, pose and dress them in embarrassing positions! Oh, wouldn't that be a riot at the next tea and tart social?

Why, that gives me another great idea! Excess humans can be plastinated and set up as chess pieces for life-size games in every public park. In fact, all those tenement eyesores can be bulldozed for new flower filled plazas. No more noisy neighbours! What's not to love?

There is no shortage of superfluous people to use as raw material. Look at all the degenerates that clog up our communities, lowering property values and endangering our children. They could finally be doing something worthwhile, and it would make every neighborhood a pleasant place to live. And, oh my, wouldn't it be lovely to not have to listen to them rant anymore? There is just so much noise and argument in this world that we can never get any thing done, or have any proper peace and quiet. If we could have all the rabble rousers, misfits and freaks cleaned up, dressed properly and hair done stylishly, but conventionally – and oh yes, all those nasty tattoos and piercings covered over and filled in with some new People-Plaster product (which, by the way, opens the door to more new financial opportunities) – we can finally enjoy life without all that squalour and clamour. In fact, it would be restfully quiet now that only the soft strands of intellectual music would fill the air; no more screeching or awful explosions of bass guitars and raucous drumming blasting from boom-boxes and car stereos.

Instead of always releasing those dirty, uncouth criminals back into the public when their sentences are finished, we could finally be rid of their hurtful insanities while still preserving their beauty. You have to admit, some of those bad boys & girls would be just so deliciously sexy if they were cleaned up, and shut up. Why, I imagine a special adults-only playset would be a hot seller. Of course, those bodies would have to easily store in the bedroom closet, but I'm sure that won't be a problem for our good old American ingenuity. The possibilities are endless! Imagine: automated plastinated bodies for fortune telling booths, carnival scare houses and school biology classes. Stick a computer brain in their heads and we can have plastinated bodies as casino card dealers, toll booth attendants, theater ticket takers and factory assembly line workers. There is also the fantastic opportunity for numerous spin-off products to keep the bodies new and shiny, and to fix the inevitable wear and tear marks!

Don't forget, they could also be performing a great human service: before we plastinate them we can use their healthy organs for medical transplant in order to save the lives of the more respectable folk, like us.

Yes, let's finally do something about all the crazy protesters, smelly riff-raff and illegal immigrants clogging up our communities with all their poverty, addictions and bad manners. I think Plastinating Body Shops is the wave of the future. Not only will it be educational and artistic, it will be fun too!

But we better get crackin' 'cause China has a head start on us, and just look at the horde of people they can turn into plastic. Why, they could flood the market before we even get started!

Cincinnati.Com » Community Press & Recorder »
If only bodies could tell their story

Last Updated: 6:48 pm | Monday, April 7, 2008
If only bodies could tell their story,


Another article I don't see listed on your webpage to add

I recently heard that my local school district was taking students to the exhibit. I wrote and expressed my dismay, requesting that the district reconsider this field trip and supporting the Bodies Exhibit. The president of the school board responded by saying he spoke with a medical student who said “anyone interested in going into medicine should see the exhibit.” I had to explain to the school board president that it wasn’t the scientific issues that people were protesting but the questions that arose as to exactly how these people died and their dignity after their death; their choice to be plasticized. Its hard to believe the naivety with which some people live their lives; don’t they read a newspaper!

Buried throughout Europe are bodies that result from Nazi murders during the Holocaust. Many of these people, even with modern DNA, techniques could never be “claimed”, they have no living relatives. How would we all feel if Europe began to remove these bodies to sell for other Bodies Exhibits? Everyone deserves dignity in their death; the bodies of the Bodies exhibit have none.

It is ironic that the San Diego venue (Westfield UTC) where the Premier exhibition first took place is owned by a survivor of a Nazi concentration camp and his immediate family. I can only assume that he is not aware of the legacy he is leaving behind by having profited from serving as a transit station for the exploitation of human remains in the guise of sensitive science.

Please consider politely encouraging the Lowy family to be at the forefront of protest by writing to:
You can exercise your freedom of speech in even the smallest of ways!

(the exhibit-inspired re-write of a timeless classic)

He was a dissident Chinaman

A victim of religious persecution

He had ideas about being free

His name was Chang, he lived by the sea

He was a no one killed for speaking

He wrote letters about his country

He was an exhibit - this is a bloody disgrace

Bodies! He's not an exhibit

Bodies! He's not an exhibit

Sold to the scumbags in the Land of the Free

lie about it being voluntary

in a museum so you can see

Die proud Chinaman screaming fucking bloody mess

It's not an exhibit - It's an attraction

Body! I'm not an exhibit

Mummy! I'm not an attraction

Tortured scum, sold to the bloody US

I'm not a resource

I'm not a loss in ethics

I'm not a tortured scum

Fuck this and fuck that

Fuck the fuckers fine with this fucking trap

She don't wanna see a body that's sold like that

I don't wanna see a body that's sold like that

Body! I'm not an exhibit

Body! I'm not an exhibit, an exhibit, I'm not an exhibit...

I'm not an attraction...

Mummy! UGH!

Reference Materials:


Boycott 700 Club. They are promoting this hideous affront to human rights.

I've heard others say some bad things, but I don't believe one bit of it.

Why don't you believe? There are plenty of facts that show that these bodies are Chinese and used without consent.

I saw Bodies...the Exhibition thinking that it was the same exhibit as Body Worlds, which I had seen before, and found fascinating and inspiring, partly because generous (or exhibitionist) people had entrusted their bodies to an artist to create works of art and scientific instruction. But Bodies...the Exhibition is not the same. Even without considering artistic merit, and just by looking and using a little logic, I can tell that it is extremely unlikely that anyone volunteered to have his or her body displayed in this show.

A female cadaver, a little bit overweight, is sliced vertically several times starting from the front, accentuating her belly fat. No woman anywhere, not even an atheist exhibitionist, would agree to that.

A man's head is sliced in half, face side down. The face pressed against the base has a horrible, forsaken expression. Who would want his face to be seen by millions, for eternity, like that?

A woman cadaver sliced in half straight down the middle, and then spread open like a book, has a tiny head. Although I'm not a doctor, I would be surprised if this woman had not been retarded.

The attention to detail compared with Body Worlds is very poor. The body used to advertise the exhibit, the basketball player, has a strand of muscle hanging sloppily in a cutout of a muscle. The eyebrows and lips are roughly cut. These bodies were not treated with respect.

A criminologist from CSI would probably declare this a crime scene in a few seconds.

went to see bodies at mall of america,very interesting would like to see again it was very educational and now i know tumors do have hair and teeth.the nerves were truly amazing hope to see again in near future


I'm not saying that it is not educational or interesting. But, these are real people that you're looking at that most likely did not consent to having their bodies cut up and displayed in this manner.


Your readers will be pleased to hear that our petition to Israel's Supreme Court succeeded & Premier's Bodies Exhibition in Tel Aviv was forced to close. This is the second country (after France) that has been able, by using the basic constitutional value-principle of "human dignity", to stop this contravention of ethics. We need to see how other countries in Europe & the US are trying to bring legislation on the topic- much of it flawed as the UK Human Tissue Act. It is our view that though "an absence of consent" should make these exhibits obviously illegal, the "consent" element cannot of itself be sufficient to legitimise commercial displays for the general public & that use of the procedures for study should be restricted to medical schools.

I would appreciate if your readers could notify me of any legislative initiatives in other countries-

Morris- your concise summary of this topic & the issues- was very well put.

Best wishes

David Schonberg, adv.

David, thanks for posting this. That's great news!

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