Here’s your dose of weird news for the day — and, yes, it comes from China. No surprises there.
A Chinese science fiction writer, who died in May, has had her brain cryogenically frozen at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Arizona, according to a report by People’s Daily Online before the weekend.
Du Hong, who lost a battle to pancreatic cancer, paid nearly $120,000 for the procedure — the first of its kind publicly recorded in China, though there have been other, anonymous, cases.
Despite the center making clear that it’s only responsible for freezing the brain — not attempting to resurrect it at some future date should the technology become available — the report said a second procedure has already been requested by someone in Beijing.
“Mother said that whether [cryonics] would be able to find a breakthrough in the next 50 years remained a mystery, but that she did not mind her remains being used for [scientific] experiments,” Du’s son-in-law, Lu Chen, was quoted by the Daily as saying.
Meanwhile, in a follow-up report, professor Huang Wei, a historian at Sichuan University in Chengdu, told the South China Morning Post that “Chinese people have always been interested in body preservation and life extension. Cryonics is a new option from the West which will certainly interest those who can afford it.”
But the Post also quoted Zheng Congyi, a professor of biology at Wuhan University, as saying that the idea of extending people’s lives in this way was “impossible in the foreseeable future.”
“No technology can preserve a human organ for a long time,” he said. “That is why organ transplants must be carried out almost simultaneously on the donor and the recipient. If we can’t exercise cryonics on organs, how can we hope to preserve and revive a head or entire body?”
I guess the chance was worth a shot to the family: Du’s daughter is said to have posted on social media: “Mom, let’s meet in the future.”