Body Worlds Exhibit Thought to Be Former Bo Mistress

A pregnant woman who has been plastinated and preserved for display as a Body Worlds exhibit is most likely the body of Zhang Weijie, a former Bo Xilai mistress who mysteriously vanished after challenging Gu Kailai, according to the US-based Chinese-language news site Boxun.

Zhang, a news anchor of Dalian TV, was reputedly the mistress of Bo Xilai while he was mayor of Dalian. After becoming pregnant Zhang openly challenged Bo’s wife Gu Kailai. Gu is believed to have used China’s national and public security forces to pressure Zhang into leaving her job. Zhang then began a petition drive against Gu Kailai until degenerating into a hysterical state. Zhang was then reportedly secretly detained by security officials in the Dalian Nanshan Hotel. She attempted suicide several times before vanishing.

The skull shape and other features of the pregnant woman’s body at the Body World’s exhibit is said to resemble those of Zhang. Also, the nearly mature fetus inside the pregnant woman suggests the woman had been been the victim of an officially sanctioned execution.

The bodies displayed by Body World were prepared by Von Hagens Plastination Company in Dalian. Some netizens have suggested that Bo himself may have approved’s the company’s registration in 1999 while mayor of Dalian. All the bodies used for the exhibit are said to be from Dalian. Gunther von Hagens, the company’s founder, is rumored to have special connection with Bo.

Gunther’s son Rurik von Hagens said their family has neither private nor business relations with Bo. Von Hagens accepted a visiting professorship at Dalian Medical University in China in 1996. He founded the Von Hagens Dalian Plastination Ltd. in Dalian in 2001. In 2004, Dr. von Hagens began a visiting professorship at the New York University College of Dentistry. He is currently in the process of designing the first anatomy curriculum in the United States that will use plastinated specimens in lieu of dissection.

Von Hagens’s company was set up in Dalian because China has no laws banning the processing and exporting of corpses, Boxun speculates. Consequently, all the bodies in Body Worlds are Chinese. The company’s standard procedures call for the facial characteristics of the bodies to be altered to prevent them from being identified, according to Boxun.

Boxun’s speculation as to the link between the pregnant woman exhibit and Bo’s former mistress suggests the extent of the rumors of Bo’s — as well as Gu’s — unsavory dealings while he was mayor of Dalian. Rumors had also suggested that he had profited from allowing prisoners to be executed so their organs could be harvested fresh for wealthy foreign patients awaiting transplants.

Editor’s Note: On August 29, 2012 Goldsea received a message from lawyers representing von Hagen’s Plastination Inc denying that it had displayed the plastinated body of Zhang Weijie and demanding a retraction. Here is our response.