Observers

As the coronavirus epidemic continues to rage across China, people have been sharing a video on social media that they claim shows a wide variety of animals  including dogs, rats and bats  being sold for meat at the market in Wuhan, believed to be the birthplace of the virus. Our team analysed this video and discovered it was actually filmed thousands of miles away from Wuhan.

The video, which is 4 minutes and 30 seconds long, was filmed by someone walking through an outdoor market where dog, bat, snake and rat meat are all for sale. The video was widely shared on social media, especially YouTube, with people claiming that it was filmed in the market in Wuhan that is thought to be where coronavirus was first transmitted to humans. 

The video below has garnered more than 30,000 views.


However, there a few things about the video that immediately cast doubt on claims that it was filmed in the Huanan Seafood Market (which is the official name for the Wuhan market where the virus is thought to have originated). For example, if you look at official images of the Huanan Market, you’ll see that it is covered, while the one in the video is clearly an open-air market.

The image on the left is a screengrab of the video, while the image at the right is a photo of the Wuhan market where the virus is said to have originated. (Photo: Kyodo

Also, right at the start of the video, the words ‘"Pasar EXTREAM Langowan" appear on the screen. We typed these words into an online search engine and ran a search for videos. Almost immediately, we pulled up a version of this same video posted on July 19, 2019, but with much better quality footage. The July 2019 posting says in the caption that it was filmed in Langowan, an area in Indonesia's North Sulawesi province.

Journalists at news agency Agence France-Presse also pointed out that a sign at the start of the video reads "Kantar Pasor Langowan", which means “Office of the Langowan market”.

The sign circled in green reads "Kantar Pasor Langowan", meaning "Office of the Langowan Market".

In short, these videos weren’t filmed in Wuhan or, indeed, anywhere else in China. Instead, they were filmed 3,400 kilometres away in Indonesia.

Article written by Liselotte Mas