Ritual practice accusations
Controversy was sparked when the performance artist yes Zhu Yu claimed that he prepared, cooked and ate real human bodies, including fetuses, as an artistic performance. The performance was called Eating People he claimed it was to protest against cannibalism. It was intended as "shock art". The Chinese Ministry of Culture cited a menace to social order and the spiritual health of the Chinese people, banned exhibitions involving culture, animal abuse, corpses, and overt violence and sexuality and Zhu Yu was prosecuted for his deeds.
Snopes and other urban legend sites have said the "fetus" used by Zhu Yu was most likely constructed from a duck's body and a doll head. Other images from another art exhibit were falsely circulated along with Zhu Yu's photographs and claimed to be evidence of fetus soup.
Critics see the propagation of these rumors as a form of blood libel, or accusing one's enemy of eating children, and accuse countries of using this as a political lever.
Capsule pills filled with human baby flesh in the form of powder were seized by South Koreans from ethnic Koreans living in China, who had tried to smuggle them into South Korea and consume the capsules themselves or distribute them to other ethnic Korean citizens of China living in South Korea.
Jonathan Swift's 1729 satiric article "A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland from Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public" proposed the utilization of an economic system based on poor people selling their children to be eaten, claiming that this would benefit the economy, family values, and general happiness of Ireland. The target of Swift's satire is the rationalism of modern economics, and the growth of rationalistic modes of thinking at the expense of more traditional human values.
References in popular culture
- In Fruit Chan's Dumplings, fetuses are consumed with the belief of their rejuvenating properties.
- In the Taiwan ghost movie, The Heirloom (2005), infants who've died or been aborted are kept in jars and fed blood to raise 'young ghosts' (who grant the bloodletter powers).
- Japanese rock band Dir en grey's song "Umbrella" is about the act of child cannibalism.
- In Cormac McCarthy's novel The Road, a father and son encounter a family that consumes a fetus.
- In the popular comedy Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, the character Fat Bastard is known for his obsession with eating infants.
- In an episode of South Park, Christopher Reeve is shown eating fetuses in order to regain his mobility as well as to seemingly become stronger (in satirical reference to his acting roles as Superman, his real-life paralysis, and subsequent advocacy for fetal stem cell research).
- In an episode of Robot Chicken, "Nutcracker Sweet", the resurrected Walt Disney feeds exclusively on Cuban children. After watching coverage of the Elian Gonzales deportation case on the news, Disney sets out on a quest to devour the boy.
- In Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead and its live-action adaptation, a group of survivors who dubbed themselves "the Hunters" turned to eating their children to survive in the zombie apocalypse, though not without clear remorse.
- "Baby-eating photos are part of Chinese artist's performance". Taipei Times. 23 March 2001. Retrieved 2015-11-21.
- Rojas, Carlos. (2002). "Cannibalism and the Chinese Body Politic: Hermeneutics and Violence in Cross-Cultural Perception". Postmodern Culture, 12 (3). Retrieved July 8, 2006.
- Emery, David. "Do They Eat Babies in China?". About.com. Retrieved 2009-01-09.
- Berghuis 2006, p. 163.
- Davis 2009, p. 729.
- New China, new art; Munich ; New York : Prestel, c2008.
- "录像作品《朱昱侮辱尸体案》文字记录". 2004-06-04. Archived from the original on June 4, 2004. Retrieved 2015-11-21.
- "朱昱_互动百科". www.baike.com. Retrieved 2015-11-21.
- Mikkelson, David (15 May 2015). "Fetus Soup Eaten by Asians?". Snopes. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
- Dixon, Poppy (October 2000). "Eating Fetuses: The lurid Christian fantasy of godless Chinese eating "unborn children."". Archived from the original on March 13, 2008. Retrieved 12 December 2010.
- "Pills filled with powdered human baby flesh found by customs officials". The Telegraph. 7 May 2012.
- "S Korea cracks down on 'human flesh capsules'". Al Jazeera. 7 May 2012.
- Leigh, Rob (7 May 2012). "Sickening foetus trade: South Korea orders crackdown on human flesh capsules 'made from dead babies' smuggled in from China". Mirror Online.