Feeds

Executed Chinese prisoners skinned for collagen treatments

Genuinely grim

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Skin from prisoners executed in China is being used to develop cosmetic collagen treatments aimed at the European market, according to The Guardian.

The newspaper says that agents from a China-based company claim the skin, which is taken from prisoners after they have been shot, is being used to develop the collagen for anti-aging treatments such as wrinkle and lip-filling injections.

Company reps reportedly described the practice to undercover reporters as "traditional" and nothing to "make such a big fuss about".

One told the undercover researchers: "A lot of the research is still carried out in the traditional manner using skin from the executed prisoner and aborted foetus."

He claimed the material was bought from large bio-tech firms in China's northern province of Heilongjiang.

When questioned on the record, however, the company denied that it uses skin from executed prisoners.

Amnesty International estimates that around 3,400 people were executed in China last year, and that some 6,000 more are on death row.

In the UK, collagen treatments are currently unregulated, being classed as neither medicine nor as cosmetic products. The Department of Health recently completed an inquiry into the subject, and concluded that regulation was necessary. However, it says it will wait for the European Union to draw up the necessary laws.

This decision has drawn criticism from doctors, who say laws are needed now, not in several years time.

Even setting ethical issues aside, using human tissue in this way does leave open a risk of infection. There are fears, for instance, that blood-borne viruses and even vCJD could be passed on from collagen made from human tissue.

The Chinese authorities maintain that any organs harvested from the bodies of executed prisoners are only taken with the consent of the prisoner and his or her family.

However, The Guardian reports that a former Chinese military physician told congress in the US that in 1995 he skinned the body of a convict who had been shot, and that while he was doing so, the man's heart was still beating. Chinese authorities denounced him as a liar.

Human rights campaigners in the region allege that organs are routinely sold to surgeons for transplant into paying foreign patients.

You can read the full Guardian report here. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.