Racist tweets blame fruit bat soup for coronavirus

Following reports on the deadly coronavirus’s possible origins, people are focusing on accusations that the coronavirus was spread through fruit bat soup. 

The coronavirus spreading in China has a likely epicenter: The now-closed Wuhan’s Huanan market, where meat was in close quarters with live animals. And though not verified, there’s thought that bat droppings may have played a significant role in spreading diseases like the current coronavirus strain.

Fears and xenophobic comments are escalating with viral videos of people eating foreign delicacies, including a resurfaced 2016 video of a woman eating a bat.

The woman featured in the video, Chinese vlogger Wang Mengyun, apologized for eating the bat after receiving hate messages and death threats in recent days, according to News.com.au.

“Sorry everyone, I shouldn’t eat bats,” Wang said.

She also clarified that the video was filmed in Palau, an island country in the Pacific Ocean—not Wuhan, China. 

 

Another video from popular Chinese blogger Chen Qiushi shared Wednesday to 84,000 Twitter followers describes Cantonese-speaking diners, likely from the southeastern Pearl River Delta, partaking in bat soup at an upscale restaurant. (Again, not Wuhan, which is located in central China.)

But no matter the disinformation, peanut-gallery members are jumping in with bigoted takes.

https://twitter.com/Aravind_Raviii/status/1220580433299038209?s=20

https://twitter.com/mbunchen/status/1220796657337602048?s=20

Various social media commentators, however, are fighting back on the stigmas and reinforcement of nasty racial narratives.

“The reason Western coverage of the coronavirus is so racist is bc it feeds orientalizing narratives of Chinese people as a dirty, diseased orientals and provides an excuse for increased Western aggression & ‘containment’ of China as well as suspicion of Chinese in Western nations,” one Twitter user wrote in a tweet that received over 25,000 likes.

And others decried the hypocrisy of the anti-Chinese rhetoric. As one user wrote, “Have y’all never heard of E. Coli outbreaks from lettuce?”

READ MORE:

Kahron Spearman

Kahron Spearman

Kahron Spearman is a music and film critic whose work can also regularly be regularly found in the Austin Chronicle.