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with pop rocks and coke.
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Eating Fetuses: The lurid Christian fantasy of godless Chinese eating "unborn children."

by Miss Poppy Dixon, 10.2000


Blood Libel: Eating Childen
Blood libel [1] is the practice of accusing one's enemy of eating children. Originally traced to pagans slandering early Christians it quickly adopted the form it would take for the next two thousand years - that of Jews murdering and eating Christian children, primarily for Passover. The practice of blood libel has been revived in the US by Christian conservatives, and is now aimed at their latest enemy, and most promising market: the Chinese.

Beijing, 1995: The Godless Triad
The United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in 1995, was hosted live on the Internet - one of the first of such events on the Web, and thousands of women the world over logged on. Conservative Christians could not fathom why the rest of the world was not outraged by the convergence of their three arch enemies: women, the communist Chinese, and the Clintons. James Dobson, of the ultra-conservative Focus on the Family book and radio empire, covered the event in his August 1995 newsletter titled, Position on United Nations Conference on Women. Uncertain that he could move apathetic Americans with bland facts, Dobson quoted a World Magazine article about the Chinese dining on aborted fetuses as evidence of this godless triad.

If [capital punishment] isn't enough to turn one's stomach, consider this: According to World... human fetuses have begun to appear on menus of Chinese restaurants as a delicacy and health tonic.

World Cultural Editor Mindy Belz

World Magazine's [2] Cultural Editor Mindy Belz broke the story of fetal cannibalism to the Christian West with her article "Unspeakable Delicacy". Belz's source was "The Eastern Express," a small, now-defunct, English-language tabloid out of Hong Kong. Bruce Gilley authored the piece titled Aborted Babies Sold As Health Food for $10 in March of 1995.

I recently wrote to Ms. Belz to ask if she had followed up on the story, if the practice of fetal cannibalism has continued or if she considered running an update, or retraction. She replied bluntly that she didn't "see any reason to." I then asked "If [this story] is true, why has this atrocity not continued to be a focal point for your magazine?" She has not replied.

I had less luck getting a reply from Bruce Gilley, the author of the Eastern Express article. Now a "reputable" contributor to Far Eastern Economic Review, and author of Tiger on the Brink: Jiang Zemin and China's New Elite it's understandable that Gilley may want to distance himself from the fabrication that helped launch his career. That Bruce Gilley could pen such puerile nonsense, playing off the blatantly racist notion that "the Chinese will eat anything" [3], has to cast serious doubt on both his journalistic integrity and his relationship with the Chinese among whom he lives and earns his daily bread.

The Rutherford Institute: Eating Babies, Is Nothing Sacred?
In 1996 The Rutherford Institute furthered this salacious rumor with an entire issue of their magazine dedicated to Chinese fetal cannibalism. The graphics above and below were hand painted by the imaginative founder of the Rutherford Institute, John W. Whitehead. Reflecting the biblical notion that human life is spoken into being, rather than developed over nine months in a human womb, Whitehead depicts a happy fetus marching dutifully into a cannibal's mouth, following its umbilical cord to a human stomach. That the umbilicus normally attaches to the placenta, contained in a female uterus, escapes the anatomically challenged artist.

Judie Brown, the founder of the American Life League, interviewed for the Rutherford issue about fetal cannibalism replied,

I've read the articles, but I must tell you that contacting pro-life people who work and live in China has brought serious doubt about those stories to my mind...Apparently there is an ongoing investigation by the Chinese government into these reports. And in one of the news reports, two particular clinics are cited and neither of them even exists. [4]

Ignoring this verified discreditation, writer John Trott continues in 'Eating Babies, is Nothing Sacred?'

A photo depicts Zou Qin [a doctor in a Chinese clinic] smiling, holding up a tiny fetus which hasn't made it to her bowl yet. The stories are gruesome and almost unreal. Eating babies? [5]

The Catholic fringe organization, Human Life International, picked up the story in a 1996 article titled Does 'partial-birth' abortion portend the return of pre-historic cannibalism? Liberally quoting the self-discredited Rutherford Magazine, HLI writes,

Communist China has already seen this regression in modern times, where reports of fetal cannibalism have surfaced.

More than a dozen mainstream, and fringe Christian "pro-life" organizations ran the Chinese fetus eating rumor in their newsletters and on their web sites. No concern for the veracity of the original reports was shown, such was the reputation of World Magazine among Christians seeking news delivered in World's "interesting" and "arresting fashion" [1].

Congress' Fetal Position
The rumors of Chinese fetus-eating were swallowed by the most gullible members of Congress, including Representatives Frank Wolf (R-Virginia), Chris Smith (R-New Jersey, Co-Chairman of the House Pro-Life Caucus), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida), and Mark Souder (R-Indiana).

Representative Smith, best remembered for hitching his star to Cuban urchin Elian Gozales and almost single-handedly responsible for holding up our dues to the United Nations, lobbied in Congress against Most Favored Nation status for China.

Not only do these human rights problems get worse every single month that we continue to truckle to China, but they keep discovering new horrors. ...there are even some credible reports that late-term unborn children are actually being consumed as a new health food. [6]
Representative Frank Wolf openly admitted his animosity toward the Chinese. The following testimony was added to the Congressional Record.
This is fundamentally an evil group of people. This is the evil empire of modern times... This is a fundamentally evil group of people, and I worry that 3 or 4 years from now we will have to deal with those people on a military basis. [7]
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen offered the following testimony,
And, we know that these practices violate every known standard of human rights since God made Man. There are reports that aborted fetuses are sold and eaten. [8]

And Representative Mark Souder (R-Indiana) claims the

...latest health fad in the southern boom town of Shenzhen to be the consumption of human fetuses, which are believed to improve complexions and general health. Unlike the serving of endangered reptiles, a human embryo as food trade is not illegal or underground in China. [9]

And in a "Sense of Congress" statement in 1995 it was suggested to the president that he decline visiting China "unless there is dramatic overall progress on human rights in China and Tibet" including an end to the use of "human fetal remains for consumption as food." [10]

Summary
There are too many doubts cast on the Chinese fetus eating story for any thinking person to accept it as true. There is the lack of an original verifiable source. The tabloid in which the story first appeared is now defunct, and no other verifiable sources are provided. There is the lack of physical evidence, for instance, a copy of the menu on which the supposed fetus dish appears. There is the testimony of Judie Brown, of the American Life League, stating that the clinics mentioned in Bruce Gilley's article do not exist. And there is the complete lack of followup on a topic that warrants it.

Are Bruce Gilley, Mindy Belz, and Representatives Wolf, Smith, Ros-Lehtinen, and Souder so unconcerned with their own credibility that they will repeat any story they hear as long as it furthers their own political agendas, or careers? The vicious practice of blood libel goes back thousands of years. And the commandment against bearing false witness against your neighbor goes back even further. Bruce Gilley, Mindy Belz, and Representatives Wolf, Smith, Ros-Lehtinen, and Souder need to be held accountable for the racist slander and libel that they've perpetuated against the Chinese.

Nothing is more pornographic than lies engineered for racist ends, or to further careers and/or ideologies. But for some Christian "pro-lifers," and one publicity hungry journalist, the hope continues that we'll swallow anything.

Addendum
05.01 - Several readers have brought to my attention photographs of an Asian man holding a dish which appears to be a fetus. The photographs were first sent, anonymously, to rotten.com, a shock web site famous for dealing in disturbing photographs. These were later picked up by Hal Turner, a radio talk show host whose efforts veer toward alarming his right-wing audience.

06.01 - According the Taipai Times the photographs referenced in the preceeding paragraph were created by Shanghai-based performance artist Zhu Yu, in a piece entitled "Man-eater." Zhu stole the fetuses from a medical school and claimed to eat them for "art's sake." His work centers around issues of life, death and eternal life. See also How to Deal with Rights - A Criticism of the Violent Trend in Chinese Contemporary Art, by Wang Nanming.

A Malaysian tabloid had published the photos and a story alleging that a Taiwan restaurant was serving human fetus. The government of Taiwan demanded a retraction and the tabloid, Perdana, complied adding an apology.


NOTES

1) Blood Libel: The Roots of Racism and the Fear of Sex in the Pro-life Movement, by Miss Poppy Dixon, October 1998.
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2) World started out as a children's magazine called "It's God's World," designed as a Christian version of the secular "Weekly Reader." The children's version has since changed its name to God's World News and Nat Belz (husband of Mindy Belz) is the corporate creative director. The Editor of the grownups' version, World Magazine, is G.W. Bush guru Marvin Olasky and the publisher is Joel Belz. Mindy Belz has written for World Magazine since its inception, and wrote the cover story for the first issue. World Magazine is supported by Bob Jones University, which only recently lifted its ban on interracial dating. World Magazine's mission is "To report and analyze the news on a weekly schedule in an interesting, accurate, and arresting fashion, and to combine reporting with practical commentary on current events and issues from a perspective committed to the Bible as the inerrant Word of God."
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3) Bruce Gilley's article begins with "No one could accuse The Chinese of being squeamish about the things they eat - monkeys' brains, owls' eyes, bears' paws and deep fried scorpions are all items on The menu. But most dishes revered as national favorites sound as harmless as boiled rice when compared to the latest pint de jour allegedly gaining favour in Shenzhen - human foetus."
Bruce Gilley, "Aborted Babies Sold As Health Food for $10," Eastern Express, March 1995.
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4) "Our Culture of Death: An Interview with Judie Brown," no author mentioned, RUTHERFORD (January, 1996) p. 15.
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5) "Eating Babies, Is Nothing Sacred?" by John Trott, RUTHERFORD (January, 1996) p. 7.
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6) Testimony of Representative Christopher Smith, China Policy Act of 1995, H.R. 2058, Congressional Record: July 20, 1995 (House), Page H7273-H7302. Note: No "source" article mentions the use of "late term" fetuses. This is Congressman Smith's own imaginative elaboration.
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7) Testimony of Representative Frank Wolf, Providing for Consideration of House Joint Resolution 182, Disapproving Extensions of Most-Favored-Nation Status to Products of People's Republic of China, and House Joint Resolution 461, Regarding the People's Republic of China, Congressional Record: June 26, 1996 (House), Page H6950-H6963.
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8) Testimony of Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, China Policy Act of 1995, op.cit., Page H7273-H7302.
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9) Testimony of Representative Mark Souder, "Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act," Congressional Record: June 28, 1995 (House), Page H6446-H6480.

Representative Mark Souder's home page still links to testimony concerning the eating of fetuses. The following conversation occurred in hearings:

Mr. REES. OK. There's one other question I want to ask Mrs. Gao and it's a very sensitive issue and I apologize for raising it, but about 3 years ago, in a Hong Kong newspaper, there was a terrible, shocking story interviewing people anonymously who claimed to work in family planning centers in China that there was actually a market that some family planning employees would sell the aborted babies, the aborted fetuses, to be used as a sort of a health food for certain people who thought that this would make them strong or restore their youth. Have you heard about anything like that happening? Do you know of anything like that in your personal experience?

Ms. GAO. [via interpreter] She's not heard of fetuses, but she does know that there's actually a very strong market for the afterbirth.
Testimony between Grover Joseph Rees, Subcommittee Staff Director and Chief Counsel, and Ms. Gao Xiao Duan, Former Administrator, Planned Birth Control Office, People's Republic of China.
from 1998 Forced Abortion and Sterilization in China: The View From The Inside Hearing, before the Subcommittee on Inernational operations and Human Rights of the Committee on International Relations, House of Representatives, 105th Congress, Second Session, June 10, 1998, p. 40.
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10) American Overseas Interests Act of 1995 Sec 2705, Declaration of Congress Regarding United States Government Human Rights Policy Toward China(a)(2)(b)(1), May 23, 1995, Page: H5389 (House)
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