Child cannibalism

Child cannibalism or fetal cannibalism is the act of eating a child or fetus.

Saturn Devouring His Son by Giambattista Tiepolo, 1745.

Ritual practice accusationsEdit

Modern casesEdit


Controversy has been sparked when the performance artist Zhu Yu claimed that he prepared, cooked and ate real human bodies, including fetuses,[1] as an artistic performance.[2] The performance was called Eating People he claimed it was to protest against cannibalism.[3] It was intended as "shock art".[4][5] The Chinese Ministry of Culture cited a menace to social order and the spiritual health of the Chinese people, banned exhibitions involving culture, animal abuse, corpses, and overt violence and sexuality[6] and Zhu Yu was prosecuted for his deeds.[7]

Snopes and other urban legend sites have said the "fetus" used by Zhu Yu was most likely constructed from a duck's body and a doll head.[8][9][3][10][11][12][13][14] Other images from another art exhibit were falsely circulated along with Zhu Yu's photographs and claimed to be evidence of fetus soup.[15]

Critics see the propagation of these rumors as a form of blood libel, or accusing one's enemy of eating children, and accuse countries of using this as a political lever.[16]


Capsule pills filled with human baby flesh in the form of powder were seized by South Koreans from ethnic Koreans living in China, who had tried to smuggle them into South Korea and consume the capsules themselves or distribute them to other ethnic Korean citizens of China living in South Korea.[17][18][19] Experts later suggested that the pills had actually been made of newborn placenta for the documented practice of human placentophagy.[20][21]


Jonathan Swift's 1729 satiric article "A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland from Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public" proposed the utilization of an economic system based on poor people selling their children to be eaten, claiming that this would benefit the economy, family values, and general happiness of Ireland. The target of Swift's satire is the rationalism of modern economics, and the growth of rationalistic modes of thinking at the expense of more traditional human values.

References in popular cultureEdit

  • In Fruit Chan's Dumplings, fetuses are consumed with the belief of their rejuvenating properties.
  • In the Taiwan ghost movie, The Heirloom (2005), infants who have died or been aborted are kept in jars and fed blood to raise 'young ghosts' (who grant the bloodletter powers).
  • In Cormac McCarthy's novel The Road, a father and son encounter a family that consumes a fetus.
  • In the popular comedy Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, the character Fat Bastard is known for his obsession with eating infants.
  • In an episode of South Park titled Krazy Kripples, Christopher Reeve is shown eating fetuses in order to regain his mobility as well as to seemingly become stronger (in satirical reference to his acting roles as Superman, his real-life paralysis, and subsequent advocacy for fetal stem cell research).
  • In an episode of Robot Chicken, "Nutcracker Sweet", the resurrected Walt Disney feeds exclusively on Cuban children. After watching coverage of the Elian Gonzales deportation case on the news, Disney sets out on a quest to devour the boy.
  • In Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead and its live-action adaptation, a group of survivors who dubbed themselves "the Hunters" turned to eating their children to survive in the zombie apocalypse, though not without clear remorse.
  • In Nanny McPhee, the youngest child (who is a baby) in the Brown family, Aggie, is supposedly cooked and fed to the other children in the family by Nanny McPhee. This, however, is not the case, as they soon find out Aggie is safe and what they were eating was in fact chicken.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Baby-eating photos are part of Chinese artist's performance". Taipei Times. 23 March 2001. Retrieved 2015-11-21.
  2. ^ Rojas, Carlos. (2002). "Cannibalism and the Chinese Body Politic: Hermeneutics and Violence in Cross-Cultural Perception". Postmodern Culture, 12 (3). Retrieved July 8, 2006.
  3. ^ a b Emery, David. "Do They Eat Babies in China?". Retrieved 2009-01-09.
  4. ^ Berghuis 2006, p. 163.
  5. ^ Davis 2009, p. 729.
  6. ^ New China, new art; Munich ; New York : Prestel, c2008.
  7. ^ "录像作品《朱昱侮辱尸体案》文字记录". 2004-06-04. Archived from the original on June 4, 2004. Retrieved 2015-11-21.
  8. ^ "FACT CHECK: Are Human Fetuses 'Taiwan's Hottest Dish'?". Retrieved 2020-01-27.
  9. ^ "Chinese Eat Baby Soup for Sex – Facts Analysis". Hoax Or Fact. 2014-07-10. Retrieved 2020-01-27.
  10. ^ expert, David Emery David Emery is an internet folklore; Legends, Debunker of Urban; hoaxes;, popular misconceptions He currently writes for. "No, People in China Don't Eat Babies". LiveAbout. Retrieved 2020-01-27.
  11. ^ "Cannibal Restaurant Hoax". Retrieved 2020-01-27.
  12. ^ "Hidden Harmonies China Blog » So they eat babies?". Retrieved 2020-01-27.
  13. ^ "Cannibalism and the Chinese Body Politic: Hermeneutics and Violence in Cross-Cultural Perception". Retrieved 2020-01-27.
  14. ^
  15. ^ Chino (2015-04-30). "The Truth Behind The Viral Photo Of A Chinese Man Eating Fetus". Wereblog. Retrieved 2020-01-27.
  16. ^ Dixon, Poppy (October 2000). "Eating Fetuses: The lurid Christian fantasy of godless Chinese eating "unborn children."". Archived from the original on March 13, 2008. Retrieved 12 December 2010.
  17. ^ "Chinese-Made Infant Flesh Capsules Seized in S. Korea". ABC News. Retrieved 2020-02-01.
  18. ^ "Pills filled with powdered human baby flesh found by customs officials". The Telegraph. 7 May 2012.
  19. ^ "S Korea cracks down on 'human flesh capsules'". Al Jazeera. 7 May 2012.
  20. ^ "Eating placenta, an age-old practice in China". Inquirer Lifestyle. 2012-06-25. Retrieved 2020-02-01.
  21. ^ "Placenta in Demand, Creating a Black Market in China". Placenta Benefits. 2012-07-03. Retrieved 2020-02-01.

External linksEdit