Have you ever seen a real dead body? Relatively few people do, and hopefully very rarely. I have only three times – just after my father died, at the open casket rosary reading for an uncle, and at an open casket funeral for the father of a close colleague. It is not something you really want to see, and you should never trivialise it, as the body is all that is left of someone who in life was loved by others.
About two or three years ago, an exhibition toured Australia which was called ‘Real Bodies’. It featured the corpses of various dead people, stripped down to their muscles and organs, and preserved using a process called ‘plasticisation’ or some such. These bodies were often posed in such a way as if they were undertaking actions in real life, like running or kicking a soccer ball. I was sickened to the stomach when I read of it.
These bodies all originated from Communist China, and they all seemed to be of young people. Young people are statistically less likely to die of natural causes, which makes me wonder how exactly these bodies were sourced. I have grave suspicions that, in a country where involuntary organ transplants occur from dissidents and political prisoners, those bodies were the remnants of lives which had been violently cut short by the regime.
Definitely not something to view for one’s own amusement.
I was thinking of this exhibition this week when I was reading about the Chinese government’s inflammatory tweet about Australian war crimes, featuring a doctored photo.
As I have written recently in this blog, I am appalled by the revelation that some of our troops have committed war crimes in Afghanistan.
But there is a big difference between those war crimes and the crimes against humanity committed in Communist China. Australian war crimes have been committed by individuals and units in violation of our laws, and where the only blame that can be laid at the feet of the Australian nation is that of a failure of leadership in the defence forces, rather than a condoning of such atrocities. These have not been covered up. They have been investigated and prosecutions are to follow. People will be held accountable.
The Communist Chinese state is totally different. Right now, aside from its involuntary organ donation program and its provision of freshly slain corpses for museum exhibits that trivialise the lives of those who have died, it continues to repress its Uyghur minority, with millions detained in what could be best described as concentration camps. It continues to repress the formerly independent nation of Tibet. It constantly ignores international law.
That the Communist Chinese state behaves in this way is not surprising – they are after all a totalitarian dictatorship which has, over its 70 year history, been responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of their own people. The free people of Taiwan and the formerly free people of Hong Kong have great reason to be anxious, as they are the first at threat from this tyranny after the people on the mainland.
And we need to remember that there is a very big moral difference between our own nation and Communist China, for all that those inflammatory twitter images seek to present Australia as worse than they are. The Commonwealth of Australia does not condone war crimes or crimes against humanity by its agents. It punishes those who commit such crimes. The Peoples Republic of China, on the other hand, has a policy of committing crimes against humanity against its own people. That is a big difference.