Lifesite News
The Interim

A Chinese artist who has attached the head of an aborted baby to the body of a bird in the name of art is defending his work after a Swiss gallery removed the piece from a collection of Chinese works on display in Bern.

A visitor to the museum, Adrien de Riedmatten, filed a complaint August 8 with Bern’s district attorney after viewing the controversial piece at the Bern Fine Art Museum. “I want to know where this baby comes from and if it was killed for this work,” de Riedmatten said. “We know about the problems of late-term abortions in China and we have the right to ask ourselves questions. We owe a minimum amount of respect to the dead,” his complaint stated. “I think it is reasonable to question the ethics of this piece of art.”

For his part, “artist” Xiao Yu claims, “It’s precisely because I respect all life that I did this. The bird and the fetus both died because there was something wrong with them. I thought putting them together like this was a way for them to have another life.”

Jim Hughes, vice-president of the International Right to Life Federation, commented on the display to, saying, “The staggering Chinese abortion rate of over 6.3 million per year, or more than 17,000 per day, along with the government-sponsored dehumanization of unborn children, leads to this kind of horrific display. When children are considered no better than animals, then they can be made objects.”

Amnesty International and other human rights agencies have detailed shocking actions by Chinese family planning officials, such as drowning newborn children, when they are discovered born without a licence.

Unwilling to have the controversy overshadow the Mahjong exhibit of Chinese art, curator Bernhard Fibicher pulled the piece. The museum scheduled a symposium for August 22, including artists and ethics experts, to decide if the piece should be re-exhibited.

Yu, who named the piece “Ruan,” which is a combination of Chinese letters derived from the names of a variety of animals, added the eyes of a rabbit to the fetal head.

This story originally appeared on, Aug. 12.