Richard North, 14/09/2005  

Exactly one week after Europe's political and corporate heavyweights schmoozed with "the inscrutable Chinaman", as part of the EU-China summit, reports The Times of India, Western capitals and human rights campaigners have recoiled with horror at news reports alleging a Chinese cosmetics company is harvesting skin from the corpses of executed convicts to develop beauty products for sale in the UK and Europe.

Agents for the Chinese company, reportedly based in northern China, have been boasting to an undercover British journalist that skin taken from hundreds of executed Chinese prisoners was used to develop collagen for lip and wrinkle treatments.

The ghoulish revelation, continues The Times, quickly dubbed "cannibal cosmecuticles" by appalled human rights activists, has stunned Western medics. The anti-ageing treatments, which allegedly cannibalise the skin of thousands of benighted Chinese, feed a multi-million-pound British and European obsession to be magically unlined and unchanged by the passage of time.

And just to remind you, here is an extract from the joint declaration of the 8th EU-China Summit, signed by Tony Blair and Chinese premier Wen Jiabao:

The two sides underlined their commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights and continued to place a high value on the EU-China human rights dialogue. They underlined the importance of concrete steps in the field of human rights and reaffirmed their commitment to further enhance co-operation and exchanges in this field on the basis of equality and mutual respect, while making efforts to achieving more meaningful and positive results on the ground.
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