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Body parts exhibition raises concerns over missing dissidents

Nigel Reynolds / London Telegraph | April 12 2006

Demonstrators are expected to hold a vigil today at the opening of the latest human body parts exhibition in London because of concern over the origins of the human remains from China.

Human rights groups fear that some of the remains may be those of dissidents or political prisoners executed by the Chinese authorities.

Bodies - the Exhibition opens today at Earl's Court showing 22 corpses and 250 organs and other body parts.

Gunther von Hagens, a German, pioneered the phenomenon five years ago.

Premier Exhibitions, an American company, says it obtained the bodies from the Dalian Medical University of Plastination Laboratories in China.

Dr Roy Glover, the chief medical adviser to the exhibition, insisted yesterday that he and Premier Exhibitions - which has paid a reported £12.5 million to "lease" the remains from Dalian - have been assured by the Chinese that the remains are all from people who died from natural causes without next of kin.

But it is believed that there are three prison camps near Dalian and human rights groups suspect they may be the source of some of the bodies.

Two years ago Dr von Hagens was accused of using the bodies of political prisoners. He strenuously denied this, but did return seven bodies to Dalian after two were found to have bullet holes in the back of their heads.

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