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Tuesday, September 13, 2005 

Collagen being made from executed Chinese prisoners.

There's something pretty ironic about this. In Fight Club Tyler sold women the waste from their liposuctions back to them as soap. In this supposedly free age where women can pay huge amounts of money to become 'beautiful', they may well be being injected with what was the flesh of someone who most definitely wasn't free:

A Chinese cosmetics company is using skin harvested from the corpses of executed convicts to develop beauty products for sale in Europe, an investigation by the Guardian has discovered.

Agents for the firm have told would-be customers it is developing collagen for lip and wrinkle treatments from skin taken from prisoners after they have been shot. The agents say some of the company's products have been exported to the UK, and that the use of skin from condemned convicts is "traditional" and nothing to "make such a big fuss about".

It is unclear whether any of the "aesthetic fillers" such as collagen available in the UK or on the internet are supplied by the company, which cannot be identified for legal reasons. It is also unclear whether collagen made from prisoners' skin is in the research stage or is in production. However, the Guardian has learned that the company has exported collagen products to the UK in the past. An agent told customers it had also exported to the US and European countries, and that it was trying to develop fillers using tissue from aborted foetuses.

In China, authorities deny that prisoners' body parts are harvested without their consent. However, there is some evidence to suggest it may be happening.

In June 2001, Wang Guoqi, a Chinese former military physician, told US congressmen he had worked at execution grounds helping surgeons to harvest the organs of more than 100 executed prisoners, without prior consent. The surgeons used converted vans parked near the execution grounds to begin dissecting the bodies, he told the house international relations committee's human rights panel.

Skin was said to be highly valued for the treatment of burn victims, and Dr Wang said that in 1995 he skinned a shot convict's body while the man's heart was still beating. Dr Wang, who was seeking asylum in the US, also alleged that corneas and other body tissue were removed for transplant, and said his hospital, the Tianjin paramilitary police general brigade hospital, sold body parts for profit.

Although the exact number of people facing the death penalty in China is an official secret, Amnesty International believes around 3,400 were executed last year, with a further 6,000 on death row.

Not that this will make any difference to the average person who decides to have cosmetic surgery. These are the same people who think nothing of having a poison (Botox) injected into their foreheads to try to remove wrinkles. A recent article in Adbusters highlighted the number of young women who are now so concerned with how their vaginas look that they are having their labias augmented. A quick google search brings up 2 places offering the service. Another now popular request is apparently for anal bleaching - making the brown eye pink so to speak. If anything, this just seems to have been prompted by women looking at pornography and seeing the girls with their clean perfect bottoms, although there also seems to be rumours flying around about various celebrities having it done.

It does make you wonder where all this is going to end. Is it that people now are so vain or infatuated with beauty that they turn to the knife to sort out their problems? Is it the media, or is actually ourselves, with our seeming demand only for beautiful people to be our heroes? I can't say I know.

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