Baby herbal soup update

I’ve been watching my stats for sometime now and one of the most viewed posts and one of the most frequent google searches that brings folk to EM is “Baby Herbal Soup”.

My most recent update – 21 October 2009 – is here Baby herbal soup: the Internet for sick fc*ks, this time the email hoax has been published on a (semi)reputable news site, The Seoul Times.

My original post on this cruel and quite disgusting email hoax is currently sitting fourth on my top posts list. I’m actually quite stunned that the hoax is still in circulation and that someone (or someones) has gone to a lot of trouble to perpetuate it through a variety of websites.

[EM’s original Baby Herbal Soup post]

So, to set the record straight and in the interests of stopping gullible websurfers from falling for the simple three card trick, here’s the definitive post on why “baby herbal soup” is a hoax.

To save you the trouble, EM has re-investigated this story and prepared the following from a list of organic ingredients. No babies were harmed in the writing of this post.

This email hoax has a very offensive content  describing a gruesome practice in Canton, China. People there supposedly use baby fetuses as the main ingredient of an herbal soup. Locally referred to as a sparerib soup, it is believed to improve health and sexual performance.

In a pseudo-reportorial manner, the email originator tells of a factory manager’s account of how his frequent consumption of the soup resulted in an enhanced sexual stamina. It also notes the prices of the dead fetuses, ranging from a few hundred to 4,000 U.S. dollars, with those babies who died naturally costing more than the aborted fetuses.

A horrid slide show featuring how the baby is prepared, cooked and eaten accompanies the message. Aside from the arguable pictures it presents, there have been no other proofs to validate the veracity of this email message.

Trend advises all email users to delete this email and not to propagate it anymore. [Trend Micro]

Trend Micro is a reputable internet security company.

I also came across a new site, not the original Handy Lanka wierdness, that purports to show actual pictures of the soup being prepared. I strongly advise you not to look at it, but the link is provided. CharonBoat is absolutely sick. Do not go there.  Feel free to disregard my advice, but IMHO this is a feeder site for porn and God-knows-what.

However, my trawl there did elicit one piece of information that seems to confirm the hoax and give some explanation of its origins.

According to a comment, the images that accompany the hoax were part of a series by Chinese artist Zhu Yu that were meant to highlight issues around religion and cannibalism. According to the Wikipedia entry on Zhu the hoax emails began circulating in 2001. The entry also suggests that the images are of a doll’s head attached to the “body” of a duck. Zhu always claimed it was a real fetus stolen from a Chinese medical school.

In case you’re still not convinced has also posted on this hoax and says that it is a form of “blood libel” in which various ethnic groups – in this case Cantonese – are slandered with a cannibalism tag. Who knows why some jerks get off on this shit, but in an age of racist ignorance (ie: the world today), such viral nastiness does find a certain fucked-up audience. This sample of comment from CharonBoat certainly seems to confirm such an analysis.



YUCK FOU! 2009-02-03 00:05:03

I tell you something.

I wish I was God and have the power to destroy China, India, Quebec and South Asia, the world would be much better.. 2009-02-01 00:27:20

that looks pretty real to me and i wouldn’t put nothing past those chinese ppl. anything walking on four legs and now two legs if fair game. disgusting bastards! 2009-01-08 23:18:54

Yes, these are real comments from the website, complete with typos. This stuff is sitting there even though, right above most of these appalling comments, there is someone who’s pointing out the Zhu Yu link etc.

Some people are really stupid, it seems. When a documentary about Zhu Yu and other “transgressive” Chinese artists was screened in the UK in 2003, people complained in terribly upset tones.

A Channel 4 spokesman said that while it takes all comments and complaints seriously, it stands by its decision to broadcast the programme.

The artist, Zhu Yu, was quoted as saying: “No religion forbids cannibalism.

Zhu Yu

Zhu Yu

“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.”
Mr Yu, who is a Christian, claims religion plays a major role in his work.
But before seeing the show, [Conservative MP] Anne Widdecombe said: “This programme sounds hideous.” [BBC]

OK, that’s enough. You get the point. This is a hoax. However, for the dribblejaws I provide the following advice:

  1. It is NOT TRUE that Chinese people (nor anyone else) eats babies and makes soup from them.
  2. Eating baby herbal soup does not make your dick grow, or make you more  attractive to women! [most dribblejaws are men]
  3. The images purporting to be of Mexican prostitutes murdered and dismembered by a serial killer ARE ALSO FAKES

This last piece of gratuitous advice is for those few dribblejaws sick enough to look at any of the other material on CharonBoat with an open mind.

31 Responses to Baby herbal soup update

  1. Jane says:

    Thanks for speaking against this nonsense. The site I’m involved with has had people posting “oh my god” style hysteria after they recieved such an email. I wrote a rebuke, and then figured I’d better check it out! The slack jawed comments I’ve seen, even on sites which carry the full info have floored me tonight! Racist, mindless, picture scanning-text ignoring, abusive, scary, scary, bufoonery.

  2. Binoy A. Mathew says:

    This has been going around for so many years now, that people still fall for it.

    It is quite obviously going around for the ‘shock-value’ attached to it.

    I hope this update would put an end to it.

    GOD Bless!

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  4. JudgeX says:

    Though the story is disturbing, obviously, in order to discredit it, you must provide credible evidence beyond “Oh my God, how terrible”.

    You denounce the factual nature of the article vehemently, but you provide zero tangible evidence to support your claim.

    They have photographic evidence of what they are reporting. To debunk the photos as fake, you would at the very least have to invent a realistic justification for how and why they are fake.

    To completely debunk the truth of the article, you would have to be able to replicate the fake photographs and show us how they were made, or, provide other evidence that this isn’t real.

    Another option would be to have a photographic expert or medical expert at least COMMENT that the photos are fake. Though this wouldn’t necessarily SOUNDLY disprove the concept, it would add power to your argument.

    This applies to the article you linked, as well. I don’t care that “blood libel” exists. Without solid evidence that the photos are somehow fake, we cannot, in good conscience, doubt the veracity of the claims.

    If you can’t do any of that, simply screaming that it’s fake in 1000 different blogs and forums doesn’t really do anything but scrape what could possibly be a hideous crime under the carpet, and discourage people from investigating it… doing much more harm than good.

    So, tell me again, what piece of evidence do you have that proves that these pictures are fake, apart from your own strong urge to disbelieve?

    Please be rational and avoid name calling. I assure you, I’m no “dribble-jaw” or common idiot, nor should I be called names for my willingness to view and acknowledge the rest of the content on charon’s boat and similar websites.

    I am not being intentionally obtuse. I am not a devout believer that the things pictured are 100% true. I am simply approaching rationally, and, from a completely logical angle, I am inclined to believe what I see and read in the Seoul Times, even if taken with a grain of salt.

    I invite you to look again, closely, at the photos, and if your position is that a real fetus was used to create the hoax, you may have a point… however, saying outright that this does not happen, with no evidence other than the opinions of other uninformed people to support your claim, is equally incorrect.


    EM Comment:

    The Chinese artist who faked the photos is well documented, including by the BBC. I would invite you to check that out, rather than claim something that you cannot prove.
    Here is a photo that proves my point: this is the artist Zhu Yu from his 2000 art show “Eating People”.
    Chinese artist Zhu Yu PRETENDING do eat a boiled baby. Actually a duck carcass with doll's head attached.
    Check for other images of the artist to see that it is him. For example:
    Zhu Yu without the baby fetus dish

  5. This thread is closed to dribblejaws, including JudgeX.
    If you want to continue believing this bullshit, go somewhere else.

  6. JS says:

    I’m so glad to see you’re debunking this fucked up bullshit. I came across this today, reposted as “news” on a Romanian Nationalist neo-nazi website (when I get bored, I go to see what the antisemite is cooking up… I get a sick thrill as a Jew out of watching this whole horror show unfold all over again and fighting these bastards tooth and nail in any forum I can find… )

    I’m surprised the antisemites haven’t started saying, “so this is why Jews like Chinese food so much.” Only it takes one of us to make a joke like that, I guess. Better not to publish this post, they’ll probably quote me out of context and start a whole new email campaign.
    EM comment:
    Attention dribblejaws, this is irony you fuckwits.
    There JS, that should sort them out.

  7. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by hisfoodblog: @BouchonFor2 @mezzalaneous yes just found out it’s a hoax! So glad it was… now I can finally eat my sashimi in peace

  8. […] has all the hallmarks of an urban myth and is the same sort of hoax as Baby Herbal Soup (been there, done that, it’s all […]

  9. kaz says:

    Hmmm, I’m not so sure that Zhu did not eat a baby. I have lots of friends who are artists in China and they say that it was real. They also claim that he later paid a woman to get pregnant to him, then paid her to have an abortion then ate that. Yet no-one I know actually saw all of this so maybe they are victims of a hoax. It is true, though, that there was a fad a few years back in Beijing of buying body parts from the hosptial and using them in artwork

  10. Fight for Life says:

    Take a look at 2 King 6:29 (Bible-old testament), also think about the multi-billon dollar abortion industry. I am not delusion or surprise that this could happen. Why are you calling this a hoax?

    EM response: Because it so clearly is a hoax. The evidence – that is, the facts, rather than the rumours – supports the hoax theory.

  11. samspade says:

    Judge X,
    Your logic is back to front. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. This man is making a claim that is extraordinary as it is hideous, so it requires more than a couple of dodgy photos. You challenge the OP to disprove it. This is asking for negative proof, a popular logical fallacy.

    [EM: What? Your pants are back to front, your “logic” makes no sense.]

  12. Paul R Wilson says:

    I still feel the jury is out on this item: The Chinese have had a history of cannibalism fads -such as gourmet restuarants in the Sung dynasty making discreet offers to interested customers of human cassoroles (a person who couldn’t pay his bill the day before), and the Chinese quickly resorting to cannibalism c.1900 due to a famine. If parents were so unwise so as to send a child alone to market to buy food, the child ran the risk of becoming food !

    [EM replies] Sorry Paul, there’s a world of difference between cannibalism during war time and famine,etc, and the cultural practice of eating baby fetuses. While there are historical accounts of cannibalism in China. They are disputed by many other scholars.
    There are reports of cannibalism during the Cultural Revolution too, but again, they are heavily qualified and discounted.

    Once again ,the story about baby herbal soup is an urban myth. And this is true no matter where you get it from, such as Note the pictures here are of Zhu Yu the artist mentioned in this post.

    You see, only these pictures are in circulation, if eating babies was a widespread practice, then other journalists – those with real reputations – would have covered it and we’d have a lot more graphic images than we have.

  13. […] have repeatedly pointed out that this is a hoax revolving around a confronting and controversial performance art piece by a […]

  14. James says:

    “However, my trawl there did elicit one piece of information that *seems* to confirm the hoax and give some explanation of its origins.”

    Is this the best you can do? Please put this issue to bed once and for all and give us some clear evidence… *seems* is hardly definitive.

    Dictionary def of seem:

    verb appear, give the impression of being, look, sound, look to be, show signs of being, sound as if you are, look as if you are, come across as being, look like you are, strike you as being, have the or every appearance of being Everyone seems busy except us.

  15. litlle man says:

    Sooooooooo wheres your proof that this is fake? I would like to believe it is fake too because its fucking terrible, however, you bring no empirical evidence to the table.

    [EM I’ve answered you on a previous post. The artist Zhu Yu is proof you fuckwit. Go away.]

  16. Melonstyle says:

    I believe this is quite true. I was informed of this disgusting behavior by my brother’s girlfriend who is from Northern China(where they DO NOT eat babies). She is completely disgusted by it, but also says that Southern China’s eating habits are so strange and vastly different from Northern China it is as if they are two different countries. It is in Southern China, Guangdong area, where eating the fetuses is quite common. I don’t know how anybody could stomach these gruesome, and very real, cannibalistic acts. I think a lot of the blame for these disgusting habits should be placed on the one-child-policy. If not that then they at least need to give women more rights and the ability to carry on the family name. Thats why so many children are being slaughtered there, because the “males” are the important ones and are to inherit the the charge of taking care of their family and carrying on the family name. This is all ridiculous and I have to get off of the computer because my stomach cannot take this any longer, it is just far too INHUMANE, and CANNIBALISTIC, and GRUESOME! Yuck.

  17. The hoax made its way onto Tumblr, a lot of people were exposed to the fake article. Thanks for clearing up the fog; I almost ended up believing in the bullshit content.

  18. Farshad says:

    Thanks for covering and revealing the hoax. I’m optimistic enough always not to believe such nasty stories, but my concern is that why people believe WHATEVER they receive through e-mail and they easily just press the button to send-to-all as if it’s a set of pictures from the nature or innocent jokes? I mean social awareness and responsibility.

  19. vacia says:

    …I’m not here to argue about this being a Hoax, I really dont care if this one is or isn’t. It does not matter.
    The truth is, they are eating baby fetus in China, some eat small thumbsized ones they get from hospitals (Gov owned hospitals cannot charge you)… or a full term baby, prepared in an exclusive restaurant for just a few thousand dollars. Powerful men come to eat them believing it will make them more fertile and more POWERFUL. Others believe in real nutritional benefits, and feed them to the children in their own family. I came across this information sometime ago.
    The truth is, that people are more comfortable believing that it’s not true. People find all kinds of ways to make money. In a culture that eats most anything it’s really not so hard to believe.

    [vacia: you are exactly arguing about this being a hoax. You’re arguing it’s not a hoax…]

  20. Moe says:

    The photos are obviously fake. But the idea is not so far-fetched. We do know that some Chinese eat animal penises because they believe it will give them sexual stamina. Wealthy Chinese smuggle endangered animal parts, like tiger penises, even though it is illegal. Some wealthy Chinese eat monkey brains while they are still alive.
    [And we eat cows, pigs, rabbits, frogs, snails, sea cucumbers, shark, whalemeat, deer, horse, duck, pigeon, etc. so what]

  21. blackyb says:

    This is disturbing to the max true or not. I can only pray that the human race has not sunk that low anywhere.

  22. Doorman says:

    The problem I have iin believe it is a hoax is because anyone calming to went to china and research the matter calms it is real, though they show no REAL pictures or videos.

    Another problem is a U.S. Representative name Frank Wolf calms these rumor is a fact. This person isn’t a “internet-junky”. Though he has been oppose China on a number of matters, he only start after 1995 when he made the calm that china were cannibalisming their young. This lead me to think he was telling the truth

    Melonstyle, do you know if it is a common practice? Or something that only a few people do?

  23. Melonstyle says:

    I do believe it is true. Though I do not believe it is a common practice. It likely only takes place in southern China, where the stranger things are eaten (i.e. dogs, cats, etc.). My brother is currently living in northern China at the moment. He was dating a Chinese girl for a while, by whom it was confirmed that the diets of people in southern China do include things like dogs, cats, and even on the rare occasion, baby herbal soup. Though it generally does not go by that name. A lot of the sale of fetus’ is done “under the table”, so to speak. I think you would really have to be determined and know where to go to find somewhere that would serve this. I believe it is pretty expensive too. I can understand eating placenta for the nutrients…. but this? Disgusting!

  24. Nadine says:

    I am so sick of you ignorant idiots being so horrified at the thought of eating dogs or cats. How is it different from eating a cow or a chicken? Hello! We live in the land of Burger King and McDonald’s!!!!!!! God, people are so fucking stupid it’s depressing. The fact that people are so keen to believe these baby eating rumors probably reflects some underlying racism. I doubt people would be so gullible if someone came up with a hoax about people in Ohio eating baby soup. But because the rumor is about those “evil” Chinese, everyone eats it up.
    [EM – yay Nadine you rock. Thanks for this]

  25. says:

    You are ignorant. Many people practice murder and cannibalism in every corner of the world. We kill animals like we are gods. We are somehow more intelligent because of of our puny brains. We can make weapons and kill eachother and every other living thing. The Asian population have many wierd beliefs and practice atrocities of major proportions on animal life. You are a stupid ignorant asshole. And oh I guess that it must not be true that the US is becoming a Fascist
    [EM: nosoul, your ranting and weird beliefs mark you as an idiot, pls don’t try to pollute my blog again, you are blocked. I really don’t understand your last line. Now, go the truck away.]

  26. The Scar of the Land of Asia says:

    @nosoul: Let me try to answer you with your own method of thinking. If you judge Asians like that, so I have the right to judge the European and American nations as the great devils who robbed the wealth and divided the land of Asian and African nations in the era of imperialism. The wound is healing itself, but the scar is still there, dude!
    (sorry for my bad English, that’s my fourth language after Bahasa Indonesia, Javanese and Manado Malay.. :p)

  27. olderthandirt says:

    The problem, EM, is that people no longer demand real journalism. Nowadays, it’s all about sensationalistic magazine style articles. In the old days, a newspaper article had to have the 4 (+1) W’s in the first paragraph. Who, What, Where, Why, and if possible, hoW. If all of the W’s were not satisfied in the first paragraph, and then supported in the subsequent paragraphs, the article would be flatly rejected by the editor, as would any story that is not independently verifiable. If the reporter repeatedly failed to measure up to those standards, he/she would be fired. Why? While it is great to be the FIRST to break a story, as being first boosts circulation, it is journalistic hell to be the ONLY one carrying a story that is not verified by other publications in their subsequent editions, as a news outlet’s reputation stands on its credibility. Who truly believes that Marilyn Monroe is still alive and raising her children that were sired by a space alien? Yet such stories show up in “Check Stand Tabloids.”
    The article in The Seoul Times fails to satisfy Who, When, and Where. “Someone” or “a factory manager,” or other nebulous or nondescript identification does NOT satisfy the requirement of ‘Who.” “A town in the southern province of Canton (Guangdong) is now in focus…” does NOT satisfy the requirement of “Where.” What town? Guangdong is a large province. If the town is in focus, then it should be easily identified. Back to “Who,” by whom is it in focus? The authorities? The mainstream press? And, WHEN did this occur? The article gives no indication of the time frame in relation to the submission of the email. It could have happened the day before, or even a decade or two before. Without these three key pieces of information, the story CANNOT be independently verified. Also, as the article seems to be linking this practice to abortion and female infanticide associated with China’s “one child” rules, how does Taiwan fit into the picture, as it is a separate country with no rule on the number of children that one is allowed to have?
    So, if The Seoul Times were a legitimate journalistic publication, it would have rejected the article. Also, where is the by-line? Instead, it is posted under “Letters to the editor,” a place usually reserved for opinions on current issues (often called “The Opinion Page”) submitted by the readers. Here we have an “opinion” submitted to the editor, with no signature or place of origin, but evidence that it was written by a reporter, and even claims that the report “confirms” the story. So the email is both the story AND it’s own confirmation. They clearly state that it is an email report, which would indicate that it was sent by one of their own reporters. But which one? Why was THEIR reporter’s story put BY THE EDITOR on the opinion page without identifying the reporter or supplying a by-line? Why did the editor let all journalistic standards slide? Why was such an amazing news story not put out on the wire-services like Reuters or AP to be distributed to the rest of the world of journalism? Such a report, if legitimate, would light up both print and broadcast media outlets around the world. Instead, we are given a Tabloid style headline: Chinese Eat Baby Soup for Sex, and a subtitle: One Baby Policy Blamed for Killing Babies in China. In the article, the only reference to the One Child Policy is a reference to a quotation by an unnamed local (I assume from Guangdong, unless they meant local to Seoul) reporter.
    Ultimately, most, if not all, of the stories on The Seoul TImes are “editorial” in nature, and not akin to classical journalism. That said, this story obviously ended up on THEIR opinion page because it didn’t even measure up to their rather low standards. So remember, readers: “no person, no location, no time-frame,… no story.” ALL elements, including Who, What, Where, When, and if possible, hoW, must be present for a legitimate news article, AND, they must be independently verifiable. So file this story along with the cannibal zombie invasion of Moscow.

  28. olderthandirt says:

    Crap. How did I miss it? It is FIVE(5) +1 W’s: Who, What, Where, When, Why, and if possible, hoW. I missed it twice in the same post. I forgot “When” in the first paragraph, but covered it in the second paragraph, and missed “Why” in the last paragraph. I’m sorry for causing any confusion, but it HAS been greater than 30 years since I’ve taken a journalism course. Never the less, those old rules are good ones, that should be resurrected.

  29. kathy says:

    I saw that on my facebook newsfeed. And it really broke my heart. Thinking that it was actually true. I was really sad because i knew i couldn’t save the babies. But i do see i alot of sick people on my facebook newsfeed hurting and abusing their child and i really wanted to help them. Sometimes i don’t facebook account because i am afraid that i would see horrible things being done to children and other people. They shouldn’t really allow those horrible things on facebook, because its sad that we can’t do help them. I even emailed the cnn news about an infant being horribly abuse by the his own parents, but nothing they didn’t answer back. Guess they don’t care at all about that. Anyways i am so glad that baby herbal soup is not true. Thanks for making a post that confirmed that it wasn’t true.

  30. Martini says:

    Argument from incredulity and conflation.

    It should be obvious to any observant reader, that you have conflated the Zhu Yu artwork with the “baby soup” chain email, thinking that if you strike down the latter, well-known as a hoax, then the former will be discredited by association.

    You did this because you have no evidence WHATSOEVER to refute the claims of Zhu Yu or his photographs and nothing upon which to base the positive claim that the photo is “faked” or “a hoax”.

    In fact, this basless claim runs in direct opposition to the statements made by the author of the piece.

    Zhu Yu has steadfastly maintained that a real human foetus was used in his exhibit/performance; and that said foetus was obtained directly from a hospital.

    Presenting the BBC article as “evidence” of “fakery” when it is actually an affirmation of the consumption of human flesh is quite puzzling:

    “I took advantage of the space between morality and the law and based my work on it.” -Zhu Yu

    If the foetus was not human, why would there be any need for Zhu Yu to “take advantage” of a moral and legal no-man’s-land? Elsewhere Yu has stuck to his story, you would know this if you had researched the topic instead of relying on snopes and cognitive dissonance to think for you. So your claim necessarily entails that the artist, known for using human body parts in his work, has lied repeatedly. If he has lied repeatedly, why would you believe him if he later claimed that the foetus was faked (he hasn’t, you just have a reading comprehension problem)?

    “but but it’s ‘art’ ” you wail, gnashing teeth and stewing in a fit of progressive febrile rage. The assumption that “art” implies “no human body parts were used” suggests a profound naivety, especially given the nature of the artist’s greater body of work.

    I infer from the title of this blog and the contents of this page, that you view yourself as some kind of critical thinker. If that is the case, you are sorely mistaken; you are in fact the “dribblejaw” of which you speak. Foul mouthed, sexist, lacking objectivity and demonstrating great rudeness towards anyone with the temerity to request you back up your, thus far unsupported, claim with evidence.

    The poster JudgeX perfectly dealt with the unsoundness of your assertion and asked for evidence, his answer? A cowardly blocking and insults.

    By the way, don’t think that I will be back here to read a purulent stream of bile such as that which you vomited at others skeptical of your claim. You seem enjoy exercising “power” over and insulting others a little too much; and clearly derive some kind of pleasure from being able to insult them whilst shielded from reply. Not happening this time, I will never read it :).

    Enjoy living in blissful ignorance, you dribblejawed meme vector.

    [EM responds.
    It’s a pity you won’t come back.
    If you’re so confident in your opinion, perhaps you could supply some links to your claims about the artist.
    I would gladly post your thoughts then.
    Meanwhile, go eat your own head.]

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