FALSE: Photos of Chinese man having human baby soup 'to improve health'

Claim: Photos of a Chinese man eating “human baby soup” circulated on social networking platforms. He is |seen sitting at a table with a stillborn baby served in front of him.

In the photos, the man appears to be taking a bite at the baby’s body. The pictures were purportedly evidence that Chinese eat fetuses to “improve their health and boost sexual performance.”

Website b4blaze.in published an article with the photos. Facebook Claim Check flagged the article for fact checkers to verify.

According to social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle, the link had been shared on Facebook as early as March 2019. However, the content was shared by several pages and in groups again in 2020 following the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak. It has since accumulated 10,511 total interactions as of writing.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: The photos were from a performance art show by Chinese artist Zhu Yu in 2000.

The man eating a baby in the photos was Zhu himself. A 2003 BBC article said the performance was titled “Eating People” and was originally shown at the Third Shanghai Biennale in China.

Zhu and his artworks were also featured in a documentary released in 2003 titled, “Beijing Swings,” produced by London-based documentary company ZCZ Films.

An excerpt of the documentary is available on ZCZ Films’ official YouTube account. The excerpt described Zhu’s act as “a performance piece.” It is unclear whether or not the fetus in the photos was real, but the excerpt said that Zhu later revealed that “this was all faked.”

 

In the documentary, Zhu explained that his performance was about human nature and the nature of God.

“Think of it this way – humans have their own moral standards and our behavior is regulated by these values. Our subconscious tells us that eating babies is not right… but on the other hand, it is not prohibited by any law. So I wrote a statement saying that no religion forbids cannibalism,” Zhu said. “I took advantage of this space between morality and the law and based my work on it.” – Pauline Macaraeg/Rappler.com

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