Observers

Videos showing Asian people eating bat soup are circulating widely on social networks, with captions suggesting that eating bats is a possible source of the Chinese coronavirus outbreak. Most of the videos were filmed thousands of kilometers from China, and have no documented link to the outbreak of the virus.

The France 24 Observers team investigated five of the most-shared "bat soup" videos that have circulated since the epidemic was declared in Wuhan, China.

Here is one of the videos:


Some video montages compiling different videos of people eating bats have also been circulating online.

This next video features in a lot of the same montages as the previous one. This one is a close-up of a bowl of broth with a bat in the middle. This video was shared widely-- it garnered more than four million views on Twitter and was picked up by several media outlets as well as Chinese lawyer Chen Qiushi, who is known for being fiercely critical of the government.



Because the dish in this video closely resembles the bat soup served in Palau, our team showed this video to the restaurant manager on the island.

He said that he recognised the table in the video and that he was sure that it was filmed at a restaurant called Seafood House in Palau. Our team searched the terms “palau restaurant” in the Chinese search engine Baidu and it pulled up about a dozen photos of various local dishes (including bats) being served  on a similar table to the one in the close-up video (round, with a raised part in the middle and a white tablecloth with black edging).


Our team contacted the manager of Seafood House but he declined to say whether the video was filmed in his restaurant.
 
For the complete investigation, see below. 
Article by Liselotte Mas