It is clear that the Chinese political and economic elites have a very different view of the sanctity of the human body than I do. I am of the belief that one shows honor to dead bodies by giving them a proper and a decent burial, and that any attempt to exploit the dead for purposes of profit are abhorrent and an abomination. It is very obvious, though, that China does not view dead bodies with the same sort of sanctity, nor that it appears to limit its own activities for profit and entertainment to those which are morally acceptable concerning showing proper honor and respect to the dead. Worse, it appears to be hell-bent on exporting its aberrant behavior to others without proper notice.
This morning I was sent a link to a rather shocking article about the use of the bodies of dead babies in Chinese drugs by a friend of mine that has been (justly) making the rounds . The news is pretty sick. Tens of thousands of pills made up of oven-dried dead babies (and fetuses) have been smuggled into South Korea in small quantities for personal use over the past year. Apparently in Northeastern China there is an established industry in the factory-based use of the bodies of infants and the unborn as it is believed that ingesting the abominable products will improve one’s health.
It ought to be noted that this particular belief is not far away from the belief of headhunters in savage jungles that eating the organs of a dead person will allow one to gain the strength of that person. And yet we consider the Chinese (and Koreans) to be civilized people when they engage in such a barbaric practice. To add to the abomination, the source of the dead bodies or the manufacturer of the pill was not listed because it might cause “diplomatic friction” with China. A larger question is why a nation that purports itself to be civilized would allow such an abhorrent and abominable use of human body parts in such a cannibalistic practice.
We ought to note that this is not the first time that China has been the source of abominations taken from human bodies and used for entertainment and profit. Lest we forget, the infamous Bodies exhibit showed plasticized human bodies that were widely thought to be aborted babies and the bodies of political prisoners plasticized for the entertainment of Western audiences (its appearance in Tampa and Pittsburgh proved especially controversial), especially as there was evidence uncovered that found a thriving Chinese black market in organs and cadavers . Again, what we see here with the baby pills confirms our suspicions from the Bodies exhibit that China and its leadership have no respect or regard for human bodies nor proper standards for burial to show respect and honor from the dead. Instead, the Chinese have shown a pattern of seeking to exploit the dead for selfish economic gain, and worse, attempted to dehumanize others into the same sort of barbarism.
The question remains, though, as to what we are going to do about it. Certainly any Chinese product to be ingested by people or animals must be suspect given the lack of regard for human life in China. To what extent Chinese-made products deserve additional scrutiny or boycotts is also up for consideration. Any open attempts by the Chinese to make entertainment or profit off of dead bodies or human body parts ought to be banned immediately as well. We show our regard for human life by how we treat the bodies of others. Clearly, the Chinese have a lot of room to improve. Let us avoid copying their unacceptable standard and becoming such barbarians ourselves.