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2005-09-14

中国で死刑囚の皮膚から抽出したコラーゲンを化粧品に使用 輸出か 英ガーディアン紙報じる

たとえば明・李自珍の『本草綱目』を繙くと、人体のあらゆる部分が薬になる、と中国人が考えていたことが分かる。
しかし、今でも
 死刑囚の皮膚からコラーゲンを抽出していた
とは思わなかった。そりゃ効くだろうけど、そんな化粧品を使うのは、悪魔に魂を売り渡しているのとあまり変わらないような気がする。
イギリスのガーディアン紙が伝えた記事だ。


死刑囚の皮膚で化粧品製造=中国企業、既に輸出か—英紙

(写真は公開処刑に先立ち、市民が見守る中、トラックに乗せられて街頭を連れ回される中国の死刑囚)
http://www.ocn.ne.jp/news/data/20050913/photo/SGE.HHS02.130905090150.photo00.quicklook.default-245x144.jpg

【ロンドン13日】英紙ガーディアンは、中国の化粧品会社が処刑された死刑囚の皮膚を利用して化粧品を開発し、欧州に向けて輸出していると報じた。会社名は明らかにされていない。
同紙によると、会社の代理店は客を装ったおとりに対し、銃で処刑された死刑囚の皮膚から、唇やしわの治療に用いるコラーゲンを開発していると語った。代理店は、製品の一部は英国に輸出されていることを明らかにするとともに、死刑囚の皮膚は以前から使われており、「決して驚くべきことではない」と強調したという。

コラーゲンは皮膚や軟骨、骨、その他の結合組織を構成する繊維性たんぱく質。倫理上の問題だけでなく、感染の危険も指摘されているが、欧州では今後数年以内にコラーゲンを使った美容が禁止されることはないとみられており、医師や政治家は懸念を強めている。

問題の化粧品が実際に英国市民の手に渡っていたり、ネット販売で入手可能になったりしているのかどうかは不明。また、死刑囚の皮膚から開発したコラーゲンが試験段階なのか、製造段階に入っているのかも明らかではない。

代理店は、堕胎された胎児の組織から賦形剤を製造する研究も進めていることを明らかにし、「死刑囚や胎児の皮膚を使ったさまざまな研究が今も行われている。皮膚は黒竜江省のバイオテクノロジー(生命工学)関係の企業から購入し、中国国内の別の場所で開発を進めている」と述べた。

中国で処刑される死刑囚は、世界の他の国の死刑囚の合計よりも多い。正確な数は明らかになっていないが、世界で昨年執行された5500件近い死刑のうち、少なくとも5000件は中国で行われたとの集計結果もある。〔AFP=時事〕

[時事通信社:2005年09月13日23時08分]

中国は冤罪が多いからね〜。
 知らずに化粧品を使ったら、元になった死刑囚の怨念が
なんて、ホラーがあるかも。

でも、もし、これがすでにヨーロッパで使われていたとしても、こうした「高級化粧品」を使う社会階層の女性達は、中国の囚人なんて、人間扱いしてないんだろうな、という嫌な気はするね。

バイロス画集』には、弁髪を垂らした中国人の首多数と戯れるヨーロッパの貴族階級の女性の絵がある。80年経った今でも、所謂上流階級のご婦人達の意識は、余り変わってないのではないか。

続き。
ガーディアン紙の元記事。長いけど引用しておく。


The beauty products from the skin of executed Chinese prisoners
· Cosmetics firm targets UK market ·
Lack of regulation puts users at risk

Ian Cobain and Adam Luck
Tuesday September 13, 2005
Guardian

A Chinese cosmetics company is using skin harvested from the corpses of executed convicts to develop beauty products for sale in Europe, an investigation by the Guardian has discovered.
Agents for the firm have told would-be customers it is developing collagen for lip and wrinkle treatments from skin taken from prisoners after they have been shot. The agents say some of the company's products have been exported to the UK, and that the use of skin from condemned convicts is "traditional" and nothing to "make such a big fuss about".

With European regulations to control cosmetic treatments such as collagen not expected for several years, doctors and politicians say the discovery highlights the dangers faced by the increasing number of Britons seeking to improve their looks. Apart from the ethical concerns, there is also the potential risk of infection.

MPs on the Commons select health committee are to examine the regulatory system and may launch an investigation and question ministers about the need for immediate new controls. "I am sure that the committee will want to look at this," said Kevin Barron, its Labour chairman. "This is something everyone in society will be very concerned about."

Plastic surgeons are also concerned about the delay in introducing regulations to control the cosmetic treatments industry. Norman Waterhouse, a former president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, said: "I am surprised that we are taking the lead from the European commission, because this is bound to delay action on this important area which is increasingly a matter for concern. It seems like a bit of a cop out to me."

It is unclear whether any of the "aesthetic fillers" such as collagen available in the UK or on the internet are supplied by the company, which cannot be identified for legal reasons. It is also unclear whether collagen made from prisoners' skin is in the research stage or is in production. However, the Guardian has learned that the company has exported collagen products to the UK in the past. An agent told customers it had also exported to the US and European countries, and that it was trying to develop fillers using tissue from aborted foetuses.

Traditional

When formally approached by the Guardian, the agent denied the company was using skin harvested from executed prisoners. However, he had already admitted it was doing precisely this during a number of conversations with a researcher posing as a Hong Kong businessman. The Press Complaints Commission's code of practice permits subterfuge if there is no other means of investigating a matter of public interest.

The agent told the researcher: "A lot of the research is still carried out in the traditional manner using skin from the executed prisoner and aborted foetus." This material, he said, was being bought from "bio tech" companies based in the northern province of Heilongjiang, and was being developed elsewhere in China.

He suggested that the use of skin and other tissues harvested from executed prisoners was not uncommon. "In China it is considered very normal and I was very shocked that western countries can make such a big fuss about this," he said. Speaking from his office in northern China, he added: "The government has put some pressure on all the medical facilities to keep this type of work in low profile."

The agent said his company exported to the west via Hong Kong."We are still in the early days of selling 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." Skin from prisoners used to be even less expensive, he said. "Nowadays there is a certain fee that has to be paid to the court."

The agent's admission comes after an inquiry into the cosmetic surgery industry in Britain, commissioned by the Department of Health, pointed to the need for new regulations controlling collagen treatments. Sir Liam Donaldson, the chief medical officer, has highlighted the inquiry's concerns about the use of cadavers for cosmetic treatments. "Cosmetic procedures are a rapidly growing area of private health care," he said. "We must ensure we properly protect patients' safety by improving the training and regulation."

The DoH has agreed to the inquiry's recommendations, but is waiting for the European commission to draw up proposals for laws governing cosmetic products. It could be several years before this legislation takes force.

Meanwhile, cosmetic treatments, including those with with aesthetic fillers, are growing rapidly in popularity, with around 150,000 injections or implants administered each year in the UK. Lip enhancement treatments are one of the most popular, costing an average of £170.

Some fillers are made from cattle or pig tissue, and others from humans. The DoH believes that there may be a risk of transmission of blood-borne viruses and even vCJD from collagen containing human tissue. Although there is as yet no evidence that this has happened, the inquiry found that some collagen injections had triggered inflammatory reactions causing permanent discomfort, scarring and disfigurement. In their report, the inquiry team said that if there was a risk, "action should be taken to protect patient safety through regulation".

While new regulations are to be drawn up, the department is currently powerless to regulate most human-tissue fillers intended for injection or implant, as they occupy a legal grey area. Most products are not governed by regulations controlling medical products, as they are not classified as medicines. They also escape cosmetics regulations, which only apply to substances used on the surface of the skin and not those injected beneath it. The Healthcare Commission is planning new regulations for cosmetic surgery clinics next year, but these will not control the substances used by plastic surgeons.

Hand transplants

A number of plastic surgeons have told the Guardian that they have been hearing rumours about the use of tissue harvested from executed prisoners for several years.

Peter Butler, a consultant plastic surgeon and government adviser, said there had been rumours that Chinese surgeons had performed hand transplants using hands from executed prisoners. One transplant centre was believed to be adjacent to an execution ground. "I can see the utility of it, as they have access and no ethical objection," he said. "The main concern would be infective risk."

Andrew Lee of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, who has visited China to examine transplant techniques, said he had heard similar rumours.

Manufacturers of aesthetic fillers said they had seen Chinese collagen products on sale at trade fairs, but had not seen any labelled Chinese-made in the UK. Dan Cohen, whose US-based company, Inamed, produces collagen products, said: "We have come across Chinese products in the market place. But most products from China are being sold 'off-label' or are being imported illegally."

In China, authorities deny that prisoners' body parts are harvested without their consent. However, there is some evidence to suggest it may be happening.

In June 2001, Wang Guoqi, a Chinese former military physician, told US congressmen he had worked at execution grounds helping surgeons to harvest the organs of more than 100 executed prisoners, without prior consent. The surgeons used converted vans parked near the execution grounds to begin dissecting the bodies, he told the house international relations committee's human rights panel.

Skin was said to be highly valued for the treatment of burn victims, and Dr Wang said that in 1995 he skinned a shot convict's body while the man's heart was still beating. Dr Wang, who was seeking asylum in the US, also alleged that corneas and other body tissue were removed for transplant, and said his hospital, the Tianjin paramilitary police general brigade hospital, sold body parts for profit.

Human rights activists in China have repeatedly claimed that organs have been harvested from the corpses of executed prisoners and sold to surgeons offering transplants to fee-paying foreigners.

Dr Wang's allegations infuriated the Chinese authorities, and in a rare move officials publicly denounced him as a liar. The government said organs were transplanted from executed prisoners only if they and their family gave consent.

Although the exact number of people facing the death penalty in China is an official secret, Amnesty International believes around 3,400 were executed last year, with a further 6,000 on death row.

What is it?

Collagen is a major structural protein found in abundance in skin, bones, tendons and other connective tissue. Matted sheets of collagen give skin its toughness and by winding into molecular "cables", it adds strength to tendons.

What is it used for?

Collagen injections are used in cosmetic surgery to plump up lips and flatten out wrinkles. After botox, collagen injections are the second-most popular cosmetic operations in Britain. Collagen does not have a permanent effect and several injections are often needed.

What else is it good for?

Collagen was being put to good use as far back as the stone age. Neolithic cave dwellers around the Dead Sea are believed to have used it as a primitive form of glue some 8,000 years ago. More recently, researchers have developed a form that can be poured or injected into wounds to seal them.

Where does it come from?

A number of sources. Some companies extract it from cow skin and treat it to minimise the risk of allergic reactions or infection. Others collect it from human donors or extract cells from the patient before growing the necessary amount in a laboratory.

Is it safe?

Collagen can cause allergic reactions if it has not been treated correctly, and there is a theoretical risk of disease being passed on. A small amount of collagen is often injected into the skin a few weeks before treatment to test for possible allergic reactions. Earlier this year, Sir Liam Donaldson warned that collagen injections could spread conditions such as hepatitis and variant CJD, the human form of mad cow disease.


ああ、朝からヘンな記事を読んでしまった。いまだに中国では
 まだ心臓が動いているのに皮を剥ぐ
んですか。
到底、近代国家とは思えないのだが。

追記 9/15 この記事を載せたせいか、昨日から、上海から何人かおいでいただいているようだ。中国国内では報じられてないですか?

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