French court upholds ban on Chinese body parts exhibit

3rd May 2009, Comments 0 comments

The Paris court ruled that the show's organiser Encore Events "has not provided the necessary proof of the legal and non-fraudulent origin" of the bodies, or of the "existence of authorised consent" for their use.

Paris -- A French court of appeal Thursday upheld a ban on a Paris exhibition on the human anatomy featuring body parts from Chinese corpses because of suspicions over how the bodies were obtained.

The Paris court ruled that the show's organiser Encore Events "has not provided the necessary proof of the legal and non-fraudulent origin" of the bodies, or of the "existence of authorised consent" for their use.

Two human rights groups obtained a court ban on the show, which features preserved body parts from 17 Chinese men and women, after raising concerns the corpses might have come from executed Chinese prisoners.

"Our Body: The Universe Within," was closed down on April 22, after running for two months in Paris, after a judge ruled the display was indecent.

He ordered Encore Events to shut down the exhibit or face a 20,000-euro (25,860-dollar) daily fine, and told authorities to seize the body parts to allow for talks on providing them with a proper burial.

Encore Events had appealed the decision, arguing that some 20 similar exhibitions on anatomy were being shown all over the world, in the United States and in Europe.

It says the bodies were provided by a Hong Kong foundation which obtained the consent of the Chinese men and women before they died.

Encore Events said after Thursday's decision that it would now appeal to France's final appeals court to have the ruling overturned.

The groups behind the court action, one of which campaigns against the death penalty and the other for human rights in China, argued that respect for the human body does not cease with death.

"Our Body" was shown in Lyon and Marseille before opening in Paris on February 12. More than 30 million people have seen the travelling exhibition and similar exhibits in the United States, Germany and elsewhere.

AFP/Expatica

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