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German Anatomist Fined for Title Misuse

March 2, 2004

A German anatomist whose exhibit of preserved corpses has drawn crowds and controversy in Europe and Asia was fined Tuesday for misusing an academic title awarded by a Chinese university. A court in Heidelberg, where Gunther von Hagens runs his Institute of Plastination, imposed the penalty after prosecutors alleged he acted illegally by signing documents as "Professor" without stating where he gained the title. The size of the fine was not disclosed. Von Hagens, whose title was awarded by the Dalian Medical University in China, has two weeks to appeal.Tuesday's court ruling follows allegations that von Hagens had used a number of corpses of executed Chinese prisoners for his "Body Worlds" exhibit of corpses preserved using a process called plastination. He claims that all bodies in his shows have been donated voluntarily.