April 20, 2024

Are plumper lips coming from the skin of Chinese prisoners?

Commodification of human life is not just about embryos, as gruesome allegations about Chinese beauty products illustrates. The Guardian (UK) claims that a Chinese cosmetics company is developing products using skin harvested from executed convicts and aborted foetuses. Although there have been many reports that Chinese transplant hospitals remove organs from prisoners’ corpses without their consent, the Chinese government has always denied this vehemently. The newspaper could not establish whether the products are being marketed in Britain at the moment.

However, it cites an interview in which a researcher posing as a Hong Kong businessman speaks with an agent for the cosmetics company. “In China it is considered very normal and I was very shocked that Western countries can make such a big fuss about this,” the agent says. His company exports to the West through Hong Kong. “We are still in the early days of manufacturing these products, and clients from abroad are quite surprised that China can manufacture the same human collagen for less than 5% of what it costs in the West.” Collagen, a structural protein in skin, is used as an aesthetic filler. Lip enhancement treatments are a popular application.