(TMU) — A social media influencer from China has issued a public apology after video of her eating bat soup in 2016 re-emerged following the coronavirus outbreak.
Wang Mengyun is a Chinese YouTube celebrity who has gained a massive following with her online travel show, where she can be seen devouring exotic foods including animals that are considered disgusting to the western palate.
In her 2016 video, the young Chinese woman can be seen picking a bat from a bowl of broth before tearing it apart with her hands and picking off pieces to eat.
The clip has been shared widely, especially after some scientists revealed that the coronavirus may have spread from the Wuhan Seafood Market that authorities dubbed “ground zero” for the virus.
In the video, she can be seen holding the soup and stating:
“The soup we just had was very delicious and had a fruity flavor.”
She then holds the bat close to the camera and asks:
“Doesn’t it look like a mini wolf-dog? … There are so many nutrients in it.”
However, the video’s recent spread appears to have been a classic case of fake news being shared thanks to social media hysteria.
While many claimed that the video was filmed in Wuhan—and went so far as to point to the video as proof of the “dirty” eating habits of the Chinese people—the video was actually filmed in the Pacific island nation of Palau where the bat dish is eaten locally.
— RT (@RT_com) January 26, 2020
And while regional scientists had suggested that the latest novel coronavirus outbreak began at the Wuhan Seafood Market—where various exotic creatures including snakes, rats, bats, koala meat, and wolf pups were sold—a new study has shown that while the virus seems to have originated with bats, the earliest reported victims didn’t have any contact with the market.
LADBible reports that in a post to Chinese social media platform Weibo that has since been deleted, the vlogger asked for forgiveness for the spread of the video. She also revealed that she had been receiving a flood of hate mail.
“Sorry everyone, I shouldn’t eat bats,” she wrote, before proceeding to detail the negative comments she has received.
Wang said the comments included:
“You should go to hell. You should be killed in the evening. You’re abnormal. You’re disgusting. Why haven’t you died.”
“It’s all because in 2016, when I was screening a tour program in Palau, a south Pacific island, I ate a soup of local people’s daily food.
Back in May 2016, I didn’t know what the virus was at that time. When the video was released, I only want to introduce the lifestyle of the local people.”
Continuing, Wang explained:
“Here are some special points I want to make:
1. The video was shot in 2016 and released during 2016-2017. Recently it was turned over by some accounts sponging off the heat and fanning out malicious panic.
2. When shooting the video, I really didn’t know there was a virus. I didn’t know until recently.
3. In the video, fruit bats are raised by local people, not wild ones. Many countries around the world eat this. It’s a daily dish in many countries, but it’s also a bat, can’t argue with that.”
As James Palmer argued in Foreign Policy magazine, the viral spread of the video in large measure reflects the often racist prejudices that have long been applied to Asians in general and Chinese people specifically. Palmer wrote:
“At a time of heightened fear over a viral pandemic, the Palau video has been deployed in the United States and Europe to renew an old narrative about the supposedly disgusting eating habits of foreigners, especially Asians. Images of Chinese people or other Asians eating insects, snakes, or mice frequently circulate on social media or in clickbait news stories. This time, that was mixed with another old racist idea: that the ‘dirty’ Chinese are carriers of disease.
Many Americans long believed that, as the New York Daily Tribune wrote in 1854, Chinese people were ‘uncivilized, unclean, filthy beyond all conception.’ Today, those same ideas have often been transferred to other groups such as South American refugees, yet they still persist in the way some Westerners think about China.
These prejudices can fuel fear and racism. As the Wuhan virus spreads, the Chinese as a group are more and more likely to be blamed for its incubation and spread. In countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia, where there are already clashes around ethnic Chinese, those sentiments could turn nasty. In the West … it could fuel both government and public prejudices.”
Idgaf What You Are On. This Bat Soup Go So F***** Crazy. You White People Can Keep Hating. Enjoy Your Jellied Pork Or Whatever.
— Xi Jinping 只有前进！🇨🇳🧧 (@PeterXinping) January 26, 2020