Ban on Chinese body parts exhibition in France

22nd April 2009, Comments 0 comments

A Paris exhibition featuring body parts from Chinese corpses has been told to shut down or face a daily fine of EUR 20,000.

PARIS – A French judge on Tuesday slapped a ban on a Paris exhibition on the human anatomy that featured body parts from Chinese corpses, saying the display was indecent.

Judge Louis-Marie Raingeard also ordered authorities to seize the body parts from the 17 Chinese men and women on display to allow for talks on providing them with a proper burial.

"Under the law, the proper place for corpses is in the cemetery," said Raingeard, who ruled that seeking commercial gain from exhibiting dead bodies was "a violation of the respect" owed to the human body.

The judge ordered organisers of "Our Body: The Universe Within" which has been open to the public in Paris for the past two months to shut down the exhibition within 24 hours or face a EUR 20,000 daily fine.

But the exhibition's organiser, Encore Events, said it would appeal the decision.

"This is an absurd ruling," said Pascal Bernardin, manager of Encore Events. "There are about 18 or 20 exhibitions on anatomy currently being shown all over the world, in the United States and in Europe, and these were never banned."

Two human rights groups had asked the court to ban the show after raising concerns that the corpses came from Chinese prisoners.

Exhibition organisers say the bodies were provided by a Hong Kong foundation which had obtained the consent of the Chinese men and women before they died.

Lawyers for a group campaigning against the death penalty and a China rights group had argued that respect for the human body does not cease with death and that human remains must be treated with decency.

In its ruling, the Paris court said the body parts were presented in such a way that "showed an obvious lack of decency."

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

AFP / Expatica

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