Dead but not buried: There is little you cannot buy on the Chinese internet

What people used to say of Harrods, a London department store, they now say of Taobao, an online Chinese retail platform: you can buy anything there. Perhaps hoping to prove the point, one company recently placed plastinated human bodies (preserved in polymers) for sale on Taobao. The company, which is asking 126,500 yuan ($21,000) per cadaver, says it is targeting medical schools and scientists, but it requires no documentation and will ship the corpse to your door (within China).Under China’s outdated and unenforced regulations on the trade in bodies and body parts, this kind of transaction falls into a grey area of the law. “The basic regulatory system over the trade has never been established,” says Liu Changqiu of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, “so the practice relies more on ethical norms.” In the capitalist frenzy of modern China, that is not much of a foundation.

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