This week, a story several years old and considered by many to be an “urban legend” resurfaced with a vengeance after a Korean TV show exposed the subject. The plot, which features a powerful CCP member, his influential wife, and a beautiful Chinese TV presenter, is about love, betrayal, mystery, and the discovery of a possible macabre ending.
In the 1990s, Zhang Weijie was a well-known journalist, anchorwoman of the Dalian city news, and the successful literary program “Sun Rain.” Her charm and beauty did not go unnoticed by one of the most influential politicians in China at the time, Bo Xilai, mayor of the city and son of one of the pillars of the Chinese communist revolution, Bo Yibo.
The rumors of the romantic encounters between the two were confirmed with Zhang’s statements announcing her eight-month pregnancy and affirming that the child was the fruit of her relationship with Bo Xilai, who was already married to one of the most powerful female lawyers in the country, Gu Kailai. The announcement generated much controversy among the people and in the ranks of the CCP.
The mayor’s wife’s reaction was swift. Gu used her influence to smear the journalist in the local media and ordered public security personnel to pressure Zhang Weijie to resign.
Members of the security personnel reported that she was secretly held at the Dalian Nanshan Hotel, where she attempted suicide several times.
After this, Zhang was never heard from again. The year was 1998.
To erase any trace of the journalist’s existence, all her information, photos, videos, and time on the TV channel were deleted from the Internet. The images associated with her were changed and did not seem to correspond to her actual appearance. Her physical disappearance was not enough. People had to be prevented from remembering her.
Even so, her image remained vivid in the minds of many.
During the exhibition of plastinated bodies, “Body Worlds,” in the United States in 2012, the body of a pregnant woman with her baby inside her womb was exposed. The shocking scene sparked rumors about who would own the body. Finally, Zhang Weijing’s name came to light with a macabre theory that would shed light on her strange disappearance. Could this be the journalist’s corpse?
In 1977, the German scientist Günther von Hagens discovered a technique for preserving corpses called plastination, which consists of extracting bodily liquids and fats and then fixing them with a plastic substance. As a result, the bodies acquire a certain rigidity, are odorless, and last for several years.
Beginning in 1995, Hagens held exhibitions worldwide showing plastinated human bodies that attracted millions of people.
To embalm the bodies, the scientist set up a plastination center, the Dalian Hoffen Bio-Technique, in the city of Dalian. Bo Xilai, the city’s mayor at the time (1993-2000), permitted him to set up shop and granted him an honorary citizenship card. The person in charge of the corpse processing plant was reportedly Gu Kailai, the mayor’s wife.
At the time, the Chinese regime, under former CCP Secretary Jiang Zemin, was beginning brutal persecution against practitioners of the Falun Gong spiritual discipline.
Bo Xilai, belonging to Jiang Zemin’s political faction, carefully followed his orders. Soon, thousands of practitioners disappeared or died victims of repression, which could have constituted, as several researchers claim, an abundant source of bodies for the dreadful business of displaying plastinated corpses.
When the pregnant woman’s body appeared in the “Body Worlds” exhibit, the coincidences supporting the rumors became stronger.
The facial features, head shape, and stature match the physical characteristics of Zhang Weijie. The same is true of the advanced stage of gestation shown by the fetus in the exhibit, which in Zhang’s case, was about eight months old before she disappeared. The pregnant woman’s body was first exposed in about 2002, a few years after the scandal between the journalist and the mayor of Dalian.
In the face of growing suspicion, Dr. Hagens stated:
“The sample of the pregnant woman is the body of a Chinese woman who is close to my wife and was donated by a bereaved family.”
However, these statements did not dispel doubts, mainly because they did not specify the name and origin of the donor.
In the countries where this sample was exhibited, the laws do not require knowing the origin of the corpses. And there are no known records of the identity and manner of death. However, in 2004, Hagens was forced to return seven corpses to China after admitting they might be executed prisoners.
Bo Xilai, who plays a vital role in this story, has been sued for crimes against humanity in 30 countries worldwide and found guilty in Australia, where he is wanted.
His direct involvement in the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners links him to the forced removal of organs from living people and the plastination of bodies for exhibition, following the directives of former CCP Secretary Jiang Zemin to “physically destroy its practitioners.”
Under his command, first as mayor and then as governor of Liaoning province, prisons and detention centers were built, such as the famous “Masanjia” forced labor camp where thousands of practitioners suffered torture and were victims of organ trafficking.
Today, Bo Xilai is serving a life sentence on charges of bribery, corruption, and abuse of power. Yet, despite the conviction, the judicial system failed to recognize the atrocities committed during his tenure.
Gu Kailai, Bo’s wife, was sentenced to life imprisonment for the death of British businessman Neil Heywood. However, neither her skills as a lawyer nor her husband’s connections helped her escape a prison sentence.
Zhang Weijie, with her story of love and tragedy, can perhaps be remembered once again as a popular TV presenter.