Follow-up report on the “Dead Fetus Capsule” event

WRIC Volunteer Isabelle Ren                                           September 4, 2011


There is a Chinese saying that goes “the parts where you eat nourish what you need”. It never crossed our minds that placentas, and even aborted, or stillbirth fetuses—dead baby bodies were made suitable, into capsules to meet this particular need of Homo sapiens.

One of the leading television stations in South Korea, the Seoul Broadcasting System(SBS) TV Station reportedly aired in a TV show “Things you want to know” a documentary “Shocking Disclosure: the truth of Human Flesh Capsule”(or Dead Fetus Capsule). It uncovered how the “Dead Fetus Capsule” was made in China and transported to Korea. The SBS TV documentary crew went to China to investigate. The reporter disguised himself as a buyer and got in direct contact with all the parties involved—from doctors and nurses in a big hospital, illegal dealers, and the person who made the capsule from scratch: the deceased fetus. Only part of the video showing the investigation process was aired simply because the limits of our endurance of this inhuman practice. Even so, some parts of the aired video were covered by “mosaic”, but there is one picture showing some hair remnants in the fetus powder.

At a price of about $80, or 840,000won, a corpse of the aborted fetus obtained from a normal hospital, the second largest in that city, was sold to a dealer, who then sold it to a maker. The maker did the whole process in its own apartment in a big apartment complex. Without any sanitary protection, the maker dried the dead fetus and ground it up, using only appliances for family use, including a refrigerator, a self-designed heater for drying the dead body, a microwave, and capsules. 500 to 700 capsules can be made from one dead fetus and every 100 capsules were sold for around 735,000 won, or $ 700. Through some Korean ethnic Chinese who wanted to work in South Korea, those Dead Fetus Capsules were brought into the country, or sent through international mail, those capsules could be conveniently delivered by the maker by order. For many years, most South Korean pharmaceutical material suppliers have traded Dead Fetus Capsules with the buyers, the majority of whom have been male and some very weak people. No matter whether the consumers knew the ingredients of the capsules, they have continued the purchase for “prominent effect”.

The TV documentary team has asked the South Korean Customs Bureau and the South Korea National Institute of Science and Research Investigation to test the Dead Fetus Capsules in the lab. After several retests, the final result determined that the DNA in the powder of those capsules is of that of a human being, and also tells the gender. Other reports say 99.7% of the DNA in the capsule was human DNA. At the end of the TV Documentary, experts warned people of the great potential risk of eating the capsules made of dead fetus, when no test has been performed to identify the health of either the fetus or the baby.

According to the August 8th “Global Times”, immense fear was aroused by this TV documentary. “Global Times”also quoted from “Seoul Sports” that many audiences of that TV show had drowned in a sense of horror and shock and the long wave of “extensive nutrient eating” should have seen its end. “The Korea Economic Daily” on August 7th has commented that some South Koreans have been ignorant of the fact that science has proved many times no such thing as a true “reviver” exists. The big wave of “extensive nutrient eating” has crossed the line. Agreeing with this statement, SBS argued that the culture of “extensive nutrient eating” has committed a crime that is against humanity.

The news of the Dead Fetus Capsule has drawn the eye of millions of netizens and attracted social critiques. In response to all the questioning, the Chinese Ministry of Health made a statement in a routinely held press conference. Deng Haihua, the spokesman of the ministry reported that the Ministry of Health has fully dedicated to solve this issue and has commanded the Department of Health in Jiling Province to conduct thorough investigation.

The law has clear and strict regulations on how to handle the corpse of a baby or a fetus (here we refer to a fetus whose shape is identifiable). Any medical institution must treat the corpse of the baby or the fetus remains as the corpse of a deceased human, not as medical waste, according to “Funeral Management Regulation”. The “regulations on corpse management” prohibits any profitable trade of the corpse of the patient by any medical institution or individual. Our country has strict rules also on the treatment of placenta. No individual or institution could trade placenta. The treatment of any placenta that has the possibility of causing disease should strictly follow the “law on prevention and treatment of an epidemic” and “regulation on medical waste management”.

The Ministry of Health is firmly against the trade of human organs and corpses. We also command all administrative offices in the department of health to strengthen the inspection and management of medical institutions. Where there is a problem, correction should be instituted. All administrative offices should pay close attention to patient corpses, including deceased babies, dead fetuses and placenta. They should also establish and build up a more comprehensive regulation system, improvet work rules, and implement appropriate management methods. Meanwhile, medical workers of all levels should hold to high professional morals and protect the dignity of life.

As both countries have been conducting further investigation in every related level, we are hoping to see more details to be unveiled, and justice to be fully served.


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