Debunked: Chinese fetus soup.


My mortified friend just shared this on FB.
Some Chinese people are known to be eating babies, and the news, which has been circulating through the internet and via email, is shocking the world.

An email report received by The Seoul Times confirmed that news with several vivid and appalling pictures of human embryos and fetuses being made into a soup for human consumption.

The report went on. A town in the southern province of Canton (Guangdong) is now in focus. Chinese folks there are enjoying baby herbal soup to increase overall health and stamina and the power of sexual performance in particular.
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The major problem with this story it that it tries to present it as an actual news story in the Seoul Times - but really it's just them republishing an email from a reader. The "email report" is published in the "Letters to the Editor" section of the Seoul times. It's no better evidence than any of the many email hoaxes that we see all the time - basically urban legends. (

There is no other evidence of such practice in China beyond the one "Letters to the Editor" story. It seems quite likely it's a just a hoax, since South Korea and China have historically had a rather strained relationship - it does not seem unlikely that someone in South Korea would create the story to vilify China.

And in fact there seems to be a history of exactly that. This article by Poppy Dixon dates back to 2000, and details similar accusations

Blood Libel: Eating Childen
Blood libel [1] is the practice of accusing one's enemy of eating children. Originally traced to pagans slandering early Christians it quickly adopted the form it would take for the next two thousand years - that of Jews murdering and eating Christian children, primarily for Passover. The practice of blood libel has been revived in the US by Christian conservatives, and is now aimed at their latest enemy, and most promising market: the Chinese.

Beijing, 1995: The Godless Triad
The United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in 1995, was hosted live on the Internet - one of the first of such events on the Web, and thousands of women the world over logged on. Conservative Christians could not fathom why the rest of the world was not outraged by the convergence of their three arch enemies: women, the communist Chinese, and the Clintons. James Dobson, of the ultra-conservative Focus on the Family book and radio empire, covered the event in his August 1995 newsletter titled, Position on United Nations Conference on Women. Uncertain that he could move apathetic Americans with bland facts, Dobson quoted a World Magazine article about the Chinese dining on aborted fetuses as evidence of this godless triad.

If [capital punishment] isn't enough to turn one's stomach, consider this: According to World... human fetuses have begun to appear on menus of Chinese restaurants as a delicacy and health tonic.

World Magazine's [2] Cultural Editor Mindy Belz broke the story of fetal cannibalism to the Christian West with her article "Unspeakable Delicacy". Belz's source was "The Eastern Express," a small, now-defunct, English-language tabloid out of Hong Kong. Bruce Gilley authored the piece titled Aborted Babies Sold As Health Food for $10 in March of 1995.

I recently wrote to Ms. Belz to ask if she had followed up on the story, if the practice of fetal cannibalism has continued or if she considered running an update, or retraction. She replied bluntly that she didn't "see any reason to." I then asked "If [this story] is true, why has this atrocity not continued to be a focal point for your magazine?" She has not replied.

There are too many doubts cast on the Chinese fetus eating story for any thinking person to accept it as true. There is the lack of an original verifiable source. The tabloid in which the story first appeared is now defunct, and no other verifiable sources are provided. There is the lack of physical evidence, for instance, a copy of the menu on which the supposed fetus dish appears. There is the testimony of Judie Brown, of the American Life League, stating that the clinics mentioned in Bruce Gilley's article do not exist. And there is the complete lack of followup on a topic that warrants it.

Are Bruce Gilley, Mindy Belz, and Representatives Wolf, Smith, Ros-Lehtinen, and Souder so unconcerned with their own credibility that they will repeat any story they hear as long as it furthers their own political agendas, or careers? The vicious practice of blood libel goes back thousands of years. And the commandment against bearing false witness against your neighbor goes back even further. Bruce Gilley, Mindy Belz, and Representatives Wolf, Smith, Ros-Lehtinen, and Souder need to be held accountable for the racist slander and libel that they've perpetuated against the Chinese.

Nothing is more pornographic than lies engineered for racist ends, or to further careers and/or ideologies. But for some Christian "pro-lifers," and one publicity hungry journalist, the hope continues that we'll swallow anything.
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The photo of a man "eating" a fetus is of a Chinese performance artist, Zhu Yu, who staged the event at a Shanghai arts festival in 2000. While he claimed it was real, the incident was investigated by authorities, and no evidence of a crime was found.
Yu's most famous piece of conceptual art, titled "Eating People," was performed at a Shanghaiarts festival in 2000. It consisted of a series of photographs of him cooking and eating what is alleged to be a humanfetus.[3] The picture, circulated on the internet via e-mail in 2001, provoked investigations by both the FBI and Scotland Yard.[3] The piece's cannibalistictheme caused a stir in Britain when Yu's work was featured on a Channel 4documentary exploring Chinese Contemporary Art in 2003.[4] In response to the public reaction, Mr. Yu stated, "No religion forbids cannibalism. Nor can I find any law which prevents us from eating people. I took advantage of the space between morality and the law and based my work on it".[4] Yu has claimed that he used an actual fetus which was stolen from a medical school.[5]
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Snopes has more here:

David Emery's Take:

[Original post expanded by Admin]
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