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Nathan Tabor

China Experiments With Body Parts
Posted by Nathan Tabor on Oct 9, 2005 - 6:16:00 PM

WASHINGTON D.C. There is a lucrative and growing global market for cosmetics, so the Chinese are simply embracing capitalism and following the supply and demand model. That might be alright up to a point, but unfortunately that point has now been passed.

According to a recent article that I read:

"A Chinese manufacturer of injectable collagen for use in cosmetic lip and wrinkle treatments has admitted to a UK news source that the company routinely sources materials from the skin of executed convicts as well as from aborted babies. An agent from the company told a Guardian reporter posing as a prospective client that use of skin from these sources is not unusual in China."

Photo by Jessica Huff

Chinese "biotech" companies can produce human collagen for about five percent of what it costs to make it in the West, where collagen injections for lip enhancement are becoming increasingly popular in Europe, the United Kingdom and America.

In case you missed the point, they are saying that the Chinese are making skin cream out of dead babies and prisoners, then exporting those polluted products to unsuspecting consumers in the United States and Europe. Now I ask you: Is that sick and disgusting, or what?

The only real objections being raised are because of consumer health concerns. The UK Department of Health, for example, worries that "the human-derived collagen, being an injectable product, could be a potential source of contamination with HIV and other blood-borne viruses or even Variant CJD, the human form of Mad Cow Disease."

There is a fine line, in the endless quest for human beauty, between the acceptable and the pathetic. Rubbing or injecting dead baby cells into your skin in a vain attempt to regain a youthful look, well, that clearly crosses the line into pathetic.

This is not an isolated incident. I had heard previously that last year's flu shots were contaminated because they were made from aborted fetal cell lines. There have been rumors of companies using protein from aborted babies in hair care products. But who would have dreamed of what the Chinese are doing openly and unapologetically?

The Chinese are doing research on executed prisoners, and then selling their body parts to make money. "In China it is considered very normal and I was very shocked that Western countries can make such a big fuss about this," said the representative of one collagen manufacturer. Nobody seems to care about the value of human life.

Where is the United Nations when we really need it? Where are the international human rights organizations screaming bloody murder? Where are the PETA animal rights activists, who care more about medical research on monkeys than about the commercial exploitation of dead human beings?

Would we in America condone the use of body parts taken from adults who die from heart attacks or in car accidents? No. Unless such people have signed up in advance as organ donors, their vital organs can't even be used to save the life of another person desperately waiting for a transplant.

Then why do we approve the commercial cosmetic use of the body parts of executed prisoners and aborted babies? Have we sunk so low that we say this is OK, just because some judge somewhere has designated these particular classes of humans to be "non-persons?"

Seventy years ago, the Nazis in Germany put Jews in concentration camps, where they gassed them to death and then made lampshades out of their skins. But we later held the Nazis accountable in war crimes trials for their "crimes against humanity."

Today we make China our bosom buddy and major trading partner. In the sacred names of science and trade, men are doing things today that previous generations would have found morally reprehensible.

The bottom line is simple. Is a youthful look worth rubbing dead people on your face?

Click here for cartoon

Copyright © 2005 by Nathan Tabor

Nathan Tabor is a conservative political activist based in Kernersville, North Carolina. He has his BA in psychology and his MA in public policy. He is a contributing editor at Contact him at


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