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View Full Version : Artist to eat stillborn dead baby as performance art- Why is this even legal to show?


astro
12-30-2002, 12:52 PM
Doesn't British TV have some limits on what can be broadcast?

C4 to show artist eating dead baby (http://media.guardian.co.uk/broadcast/story/0,7493,866514,00.html)

The documentary, Beijing Swings, which looks at the extreme practices of some artists in China, also shows a man drinking wine that has had an amputated penis marinaded in it.

The programme, which has been condemned by the Chinese embassy in London, will be broadcast on Thursday night. A spokesman for Channel 4 said last night: "The programme will be controversial and will shock some viewers but a warning will be given before it goes out on air."

The documentary shows stills of Zhu Yu, the artist, biting into the body of a stillborn infant. He says: "No religion forbids cannibalism. Nor can I find any law which prevents us from eating people. I took advantage of the space between morality and the law and based my work on it."

bernse
12-30-2002, 12:54 PM
Holy fuck. Those people need mental help. That's not art, its just plain whacked.

Crusoe
12-30-2002, 12:55 PM
"Why is this even legal to show?"

Because there's no law against it?

Don't worry, our own moral guardians are up in arms about it already. Personally I wonder whether Channel 4 are shooting themselves in the foot over this - it was one thing to get away with the live, televised autopsy recently (at least that had some educational value) - but this just seems to be designed to shock. Not all publicity is good publicity.

Arden Ranger
12-30-2002, 12:56 PM
Why, oh, why did I open this thread?

fauxpas
12-30-2002, 12:57 PM
well they showed the process of a man getting his uhh... "member" taken off and replaced by his MIDDLE FINGER!! www.ripleysbelieveitornot.com

zev_steinhardt
12-30-2002, 12:58 PM
...and this thread has taught me to never again read the SDMB while eating lunch.

Did you have to put that in the thread title?

Zev Steinhardt

Rider
12-30-2002, 01:00 PM
Here in Hong Kong a few years ago the serious newspapers were filled for a while with the issue of how in Southern China it was (and probably still is) popular for people to eat aborted foetuses as a health aid. Abortion clinics were found to be selling them. I've heard a lot of sick eating habits in this part of the world, but that one was the worst.

Crusoe
12-30-2002, 01:01 PM
A couple of points to clarify from the article. First, the act has already occurred. Whether this section of the show should be televised or not, nothing can change what happened. Secondly, the eating is not being televised live; still photos are to be shown.

I realise that these points may seem trivial, but it's worth being accurate.

Rider
12-30-2002, 01:03 PM
Here's a cite for my above post, but don't read it if you're easily upset by the subject of the post.

Rider
12-30-2002, 01:03 PM
Here's a cite for my above post, but don't read it if you're easily upset by the subject of the post.

http://www.tibet.ca/wtnarchive/1995/4/14-2_1.html

levdrakon
12-30-2002, 01:09 PM
If you want to get grossed out, go to rotten.com. Warning!! Some of the photos they have are really disturbing.

Among other things, they have a couple shots of people apparently eating dead babies.

Whack-a-Mole
12-30-2002, 01:15 PM
I consider myself a very open person and willing to tolerate much that I personally find repugnant but good grief...this is just too much. I mean, it's bad enough to contemplate people stranded somewhere resorting to cannibalism in order to survive. Whether or not I could personally ever do it (and I suppose I will never really know unless actually faced with that dilemma) at least I can understand the motivation behind it. But eating another human for art??? Good God...some people need to get a grip. It's nothing but a publicity stunt for the artist and a particularly gruesome one at that. I don't claim to understand all art but surely this gets out of that realm!?

If we're lucky maybe he'll consider self-immolation for his next work of 'art'.

astro
12-30-2002, 01:15 PM
Originally posted by Rider
Here's a cite for my above post, but don't read it if you're easily upset by the subject of the post.

http://www.tibet.ca/wtnarchive/1995/4/14-2_1.html

Oh my GOD!! That story is more disconcerting than my OP by an order of magnitude... no make that orders of magnitude.

All the docs and the kids of the docs at the birth control clinics in China are apparently very well fed.

Rider
12-30-2002, 01:19 PM
If I took Zhu Yu outside and kicked the shit out of him, then called it art, would he appreciate it I wonder?

Whack-a-Mole
12-30-2002, 01:30 PM
Originally posted by Rider
If I took Zhu Yu outside and kicked the shit out of him, then called it art, would he appreciate it I wonder?

Careful...if you did that he might Zhu Yu...err...sue you.

Rider
12-30-2002, 01:33 PM
What a nice image though...call the media to a specified location, tell them there's going to be an art event, then when they arrive drag Zhu Yu into the street, beat him senseless, then tip a can of red paint over him, and....tadaaah! A work of art.

Or am I over-reacting?

Arden Ranger
12-30-2002, 01:41 PM
Er, Snopes (http://www.snopes.com/horrors/cannibal/fetus.htm) has something to say about this "artist" and this particular piece of "art".

astro
12-30-2002, 01:43 PM
Originally posted by Rider
What a nice image though...call the media to a specified location, tell them there's going to be an art event, then when they arrive drag Zhu Yu into the street, beat him senseless, then tip a can of red paint over him, and....tadaaah! A work of art.

Or am I over-reacting?

Well, as he succinctly states " I took advantage of the space between morality and the law and based my work on it." But that's a pretty big space and there's room for plenty of ass kickings by pissed off people within it.

bibliophage
12-30-2002, 01:46 PM
Okay, I think most of us can agree that this is not exactly wholesome family entertainment, but let's try to keep our emotions in check in this forum. Let's limit ourselves to discussing the facts, such as what the law in China says about such performances, and what the law and enforceable broadcasting standards in the U.K. say about airing such performances. And we can of course discuss whether or not the whole thing is a hoax.

bibliophage
moderator GQ

astro
12-30-2002, 01:49 PM
Originally posted by Arden Ranger
Er, Snopes (http://www.snopes.com/horrors/cannibal/fetus.htm) has something to say about this "artist" and this particular piece of "art".

Giant WOOSHING sound fills the air as a large man is carried up into the clouds by a mighty, whirling tornado of credulity.

"But, but... it was in the papers" he cried "and on the internet" as his voice slowly faded into the distance.

Lemur866
12-30-2002, 01:52 PM
Um, why is everyone believing that the story is true? Just becasue you have a picture or videotape seeming to show a person eating a baby that doesn't mean that it actually occured. These could very easily be faked, and the "art" being created isn't the eating of a dead baby, but the creation of a media firestorm.

Rider
12-30-2002, 01:52 PM
"let's try to keep our emotions in check in this forum. Let's limit ourselves to discussing the facts".

Is this standard procedure? I think a little levity is only natural when encountering such atrocities. I wasn't inciting anyone to violence, merely making a feeble attempt at irony. "Sticking to the facts" makes me feel like I'm taking to the stand in a court case. My emotions are in check and I stand corrected, however.

Rider
12-30-2002, 01:54 PM
Sorry.."Sticking to the facts" was an incorrect quote...but you get my drift.

monica
12-30-2002, 01:56 PM
from the article
"Eating foetuses is a traditional Chinese medicine deeply founded in folklore."
First of all, I would like to state that I don't think that I would ever, ever be able to eat human flesh. However, if this is Chinese culture, then who are we to criticize it? We may find this revolting, but that doesn't give us the right to condemn it as an evil practice. I'm sure other cultures think that Americans are evil because of some of our customs. It all depends on your point of view.

Futile Gesture
12-30-2002, 01:59 PM
Originally posted by Arden Ranger
Er, Snopes (http://www.snopes.com/horrors/cannibal/fetus.htm) has something to say about this "artist" and this particular piece of "art".
God bless Snopes!

There's nothing "performance artists" crave more than publicity, any publicity, and it looks like Zhu Yu is a master in it.

I just hope Channel 4 aren't as gullible as they're pretending to be.

Rider
12-30-2002, 02:01 PM
"However, if this is Chinese culture, then who are we to criticize it?"

So the African "culture" of circumcising young females by removing their clitoris is acceptable to you? Culture is not a byword for righteousness, and should be criticized if barbaric. It's not some giant petting zoo out there, it's a cruel world.

Arden Ranger
12-30-2002, 02:03 PM
Originally posted by astro
Giant WOOSHING sound fills the air as a large man is carried up into the clouds by a mighty, whirling tornado of credulity.

"But, but... it was in the papers" he cried "and on the internet" as his voice slowly faded into the distance.

My work here is done. :D

astro
12-30-2002, 02:04 PM
Originally posted by monica
First of all, I would like to state that I don't think that I would ever, ever be able to eat human flesh. However, if this is Chinese culture, then who are we to criticize it? We may find this revolting, but that doesn't give us the right to condemn it as an evil practice. I'm sure other cultures think that Americans are evil because of some of our customs. It all depends on your point of view.

Well...I don't know. Somehow I think the eating of human flesh would be a bit of a deal breaker when it comes to the limits of cultural relativism.

Whack-a-Mole
12-30-2002, 02:07 PM
Originally posted by astro
Giant WOOSHING sound fills the air as a large man is carried up into the clouds by a mighty, whirling tornado of credulity.

"But, but... it was in the papers" he cried "and on the internet" as his voice slowly faded into the distance.

Ok...fair 'nuff. We've all seen by now how the media doesn't exactly bend over backwards to give the whole truth. Still, I think we still have some presumption of truth allowable to us. If the Guardian is reporting this and quoting governmental sources talking about it I don't think we, as the public, have taken leave of our senses to believe just any old thing. Heck, even the Chinese Embassy in London didn't specifically call into question the claimed 'facts'. They just condemmed its showing.

One would hope that either the people making the show, C4 or the Guardian would haev verified...even just a little bit...the claims being made in the show. The message i am getting here is that I can mock-up any old thing, film it and pass it off to these folks as truth and get it aired and fire-up a media storm. It's not as if any of these organizations don't have resources to check these things. Snopes (http://www.snopes.com) managed it...why no one else?

The real shit storm now should descend on the person furthest up the food chain at these organizations who knew of the fraud and let it continue. If no one knew then the shit storm should seek the person(s) whose job it is to guarantee at least some modicum of truth behind what they want to pass off to the public.

Are there any laws (in the UK or US) that dictate the level to which media organizations are responsible for discerning the truth? I imagine if there are laws they are likely hard to apply but maybe a good once through in the court system, win or lose, will goose these organizations into trying just a bit harder.

Revtim
12-30-2002, 02:18 PM
I can see why this is considered gross (understatement), but I'm not sure why many seem to think it is so evil and the guy deserves to be beaten and such (if it were actually true that he ate a stillborn, that is). It's not like he killed the kid.

Rider
12-30-2002, 02:21 PM
Well..which do you find more distasteful....a public brawl or a public consumption of a still born child? I was just making a comparison, not a call to arms.

Cisco
12-30-2002, 02:22 PM
I thought I was reading an old thread when I opened this until I saw the date. This has been done and debunked here well over a year ago, I'm surprised alot of you regulars didn't remember it.


Of course I realize not everybody can read every thread. It seems like there were at least 2 or 3 threads on the subject at one time though.

Well, anyway, you can sleep tonight :).

Whack-a-Mole
12-30-2002, 02:23 PM
Originally posted by Revtim
I can see why this is considered gross (understatement), but I'm not sure why many seem to think it is so evil and the guy deserves to be beaten and such (if it were actually true that he ate a stillborn, that is). It's not like he killed the kid.

Bad enough that he actually eats the fetus. That he calls in the media to have it filmed and covers his actions under the mantle of 'art' now affects me. For this he deserves a good once over. If he merely hoaxed the whole thing then he also derserves a thrashing. Nothing permanent or overly violent...just a good smack with the "Get A Clue" stick.

Revtim
12-30-2002, 02:28 PM
So calling in the media to cover a gross publicity stunt disguised as art deserves a beating? Sorry, still not convinced.

Whack-a-Mole
12-30-2002, 02:31 PM
Originally posted by Revtim
So calling in the media to cover a gross publicity stunt disguised as art deserves a beating? Sorry, still not convinced.

Ok, ok...maybe not literally. I think people are just venting a bit. In short the guy deserves a good dose of Bad Karma...I'll let the Universe take its payment from there.

Rider
12-30-2002, 02:32 PM
Although I'm being drawn in here.....Depends on the stunt. What if you found that he'd procured the stillborn infant from the hospital where your wife had just lost her child?

Revtim
12-30-2002, 03:04 PM
If he had stolen the stillborn without permission from the parents, then I agree that a whuppin' is *very* appropriate.

Rider
12-30-2002, 03:07 PM
ok, great. So shall we all go for a drink now and chat about other stuff?

Revtim
12-30-2002, 03:14 PM
Deal.

bonzer
12-30-2002, 04:04 PM
Purely on the issue of the limits of British TV, there is the near precident of the show where the cookery writer Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall showed the preparation and eating of a human placenta (as a risotto, IIRC). This led to some tabloid controversy in advance, but as far as I know none of the standards bodies called the programme to account. Personally, I had no problems in watching it - but then a ex used them in her Ph.D. research and I'm pretty unsquemish about placentas as a result.

Rider
12-30-2002, 04:06 PM
Placenta is different because it is a byproduct, not a human being. It's akin to eating snot, really. Yuck, did I just say that?

Duck Duck Goose
12-30-2002, 04:40 PM
originally posted by Rider:
Here's a cite for my above post, but don't read it if you're easily upset by the subject of the post.

http://www.tibet.ca/wtnarchive/1995/4/14-2_1.html Originally posted by astro
Oh my GOD!! That story is more disconcerting than my OP by an order of magnitude... no make that orders of magnitude.

All the docs and the kids of the docs at the birth control clinics in China are apparently very well fed. Snopes also addresses Rider's story, in the same link as it addresses the "artist eating stillborn baby" story.

http://www.snopes.com/horrors/cannibal/fetus.htm

The rumor about the Chinese eating dead babies did not begin with this "work of art," however. In 1995, U.S. Representative Frank Wolf of Virginia raised a short-lived media ruckus by asserting he'd encountered credible reports of Chinese hospitals' selling human fetuses to be used as health food. Citing a 12 April 1995 article from Eastern Express, an English-language daily in Hong Kong, he demanded the Clinton administration and international human rights groups investigate these allegations.

Nothing apparently came of this call to arms, leading us to believe those "credible" reports turned out to be not so reliable after all. Just like this latest scare, in fact. Okay, so is everyone in this thread now grasping that Zhu Yu doesn't actually eat a stillborn baby? According to Snopes, it's probably a duck carcass.

Rider
12-30-2002, 04:44 PM
Yes, but the Eastern Express thing was considered as old news by the Chinese press, who run the story of fetus consumption from time to time. It was on TV reports here, also. It did/does happen.

Rider
12-30-2002, 04:49 PM
"Nothing apparently came of this call to arms, leading us to believe those "credible" reports turned out to be not so reliable after all. Just like this latest scare, in fact."

Just to add, a lot bigger stories than this have gone away when major powers have had issues. I'd wager that the Clinton Admin just didn't consider it something worth going to bat over at the time. It's about politics, not press reliability.

Duck Duck Goose
12-30-2002, 05:01 PM
Old news--but old "untrue" news. Just because the Chinese media run the story every so often doesn't make it true. The media here run the same story every year about NORAD tracking Santa's sleigh all the way from the North Pole--but that doesn't make it true.

It did/does happen.Cite? Snopes says it's probably an UL, that there's no confirmation of it other than the one Hong Kong Express article. What else have you got? And sorry, it doesn't count just to say "there aren't any reports because the Clinton administration didn't care to concern themselves with it." Name another story with the same potential for messy and exciting front-page headlines as the "fact" that the Chinese are selling and eating aborted human fetuses that was ignored by the Powers That Be. I doubt if you can.
a lot bigger stories than this have gone away when major powers have had issues. Such as?

Also, the Clinton Administration didn't choose what news went on CNN, or the BBC. If there had been a story there, there would have been some followup.

After a while we didn't hear anything more about cold fusion, and that was because it was a hoax, not because the Administration didn't concern itself with it.

astro
12-30-2002, 05:03 PM
Originally posted by Rider
"Nothing apparently came of this call to arms, leading us to believe those "credible" reports turned out to be not so reliable after all. Just like this latest scare, in fact."

Just to add, a lot bigger stories than this have gone away when major powers have had issues. I'd wager that the Clinton Admin just didn't consider it something worth going to bat over at the time. It's about politics, not press reliability.

Forget about the performance artist. Let's assume he's a fraud. The more interesting issue is whether Chinese people will really eat placentas and embryos when and if if they can get them.

This investigative follow up to the article seems to kind of debunk the nummy fetus issue.

Blood Libel: Eating Children (http://www.jesus21.com/poppydixon/sex/chinese_eating_fetuses.html)

Rider
12-30-2002, 05:11 PM
I think we're digging too deep here (A heretical claim, i know, on this message board). My Chinese girlfriend at the time couldn't understand why I was getting so uptight about the news reports. To her, it was just like saying..hey those Scottish folk eat Haggis. I had a few Chinese friends who also were remarkably offhand in their confirmation of this practice. Come to this part of the world, and you'll be hard put to find a Chinese person who will deny that eating fetuses goes on in Chinese society.

Padeye
12-30-2002, 05:21 PM
Let's see if Bertie Botts every flavor beans has those favors.

Johnny L.A.
12-30-2002, 05:48 PM
Snopes says it's false (http://www.snopes.com/horrors/cannibal/fetus.htm).
The photo shown above was taken seriously by a number of important agencies who viewed it, and both Scotland Yard and the FBI investigated this matter, trying to determine when and where the picture was taken and the identities of those appearing in it. Its origin was quickly uncovered: The man in the photo is Chinese artist Zhu Yu, who performed a conceptual piece called "Eating People" at a Shanghai arts festival in 2000. The controversial photo has since been part of a number of art exhibits. As for the "baby," it was most likely constructed by placing a doll's head on a duck's carcass.

Johnny L.A.
12-30-2002, 05:50 PM
:rolleyes: Once again, I posted without reading the entire thread.

I'll go away now...

Daoloth
12-30-2002, 06:00 PM
I remember when a certain nefarious website whose domain starts with an 'r' posted images of this. They got in trouble and had to post the explanation that confirms what Snopes said.

Said website are also the inventors of the infamous Bonsai Kitten.

istara
12-30-2002, 10:46 PM
I can't imagine choosing stir fried homo (as in sapiens) with black bean sauce myself, but if I was stranded on a desert island and the only meat in sight was the Swiss Family Robinson, I could get an appetite...

Berkut
12-30-2002, 11:56 PM
Originally posted by astro
Giant WOOSHING sound fills the air as a large man is carried up into the clouds by a mighty, whirling tornado of credulity.

"But, but... it was in the papers" he cried "and on the internet" as his voice slowly faded into the distance.
Snopes is on the internet, and their sources for debunking were newspapers. Is it false just because they say so?

I just don't see how Snopes debunked this when they use the same unreliable sources that started the whole thing. Could I "debunk" Snopes by making my own website that has links to newspapers saying that it's true?

I apologize for the hijack. I think the story is crap too, I just don't get the whole Snopes thing. Please feel free to educate me if there is something I'm missing (I know you guys will ;) ).

Daoloth
12-31-2002, 12:03 AM
Originally posted by Joey G
Snopes is on the internet, and their sources for debunking were newspapers. Is it false just because they say so?

I just don't see how Snopes debunked this when they use the same unreliable sources that started the whole thing. Could I "debunk" Snopes by making my own website that has links to newspapers saying that it's true?

I apologize for the hijack. I think the story is crap too, I just don't get the whole Snopes thing. Please feel free to educate me if there is something I'm missing (I know you guys will ;) ).

The reason I trust Snopes, is that they're more than 95% accurate. However, I'm positive this is a hoax, as I have seen outside corroboration.

Here (http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/archive/17157.html) is a UK Register debunking, including a link to a review of the art show.

Here (http://www.gapingmaw.com/59701/) is the rebuttal by the staff of the infamous site who first popularized the picture. [Note to mods- this links only to an article]

GIGObuster
12-31-2002, 12:18 AM
Like Daoloth said, and I will add that the reason thrust in Snopes is high among dopers is that it guide us to do a better targeted search, like DDG there showed. Many times Snopes survives the BS detectors and investigators from this board, which is no small feat, hence the respect many have for it.

Besides, it is better than becouseIsaidso.com :)

superfreakicus
12-31-2002, 02:54 AM
psshh...didn't they already do this on fear factor?

IzzyR
12-31-2002, 07:46 AM
Originally posted by Daoloth
Here (http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/archive/17157.html) is a UK Register debunking, including a link to a review of the art show.Huh? Your link says the following:This raises the possibility that the child pictured is an actual dead baby. Conceptualists typically go for maximum authenticity in their work, being a lot of anything-for-a-buck illiterate knuckleheads oblivious to the glaring contradiction between 'authenticity' and 'art' evident to those of us who can, like, read books and sit exams and such.

Whether because he, like most artists, can't afford actual groceries, or whether in an effort to make some profound statement, the likelihood exists that 'Foetus Breath Zhu' is actually committing the crime of eating long pig with -- it's almost too horrible to write -- orange juice.And:there is a common and often fatal infantile disease rampant in China known as 'being a baby girl'. Zhu may simply have obtained a victim of this dreadful illness, and immortalized her in art.

Originally posted by Daoloth Here (http://www.gapingmaw.com/59701/) is the rebuttal by the staff of the infamous site who first popularized the picture. [Note to mods- this links only to an article]This too does not "rebut" anything, beyond claiming that rotten.com is not guilty of any crime.

I agree with Joey G. The pure and unsullied faith that so many posters have in Snopes is misplaced.

Duck Duck Goose
12-31-2002, 08:11 AM
My understanding is that Barbara and David Mikkelson actually go and look things up, do research, make phone calls. They are not God, but then, neither is Cecil.

IzzyR
12-31-2002, 08:34 AM
They also put out a lot of silly "nobody would ever do this because it makes no sense" arguments. (As well as other weak types of arguments that are not in play here).

In this case, they seem to be debunking the story of widespread fetus-eating by simply asserting thatTaiwan maintains the same attitude towards cannibalism as the rest of the world; the practice is as abhorrent there as it is anywhere else.And the artist story by speculatingAs for the "baby," it was most likely constructed by placing a doll's head on a duck's carcassMaybe, maybe not.

Snopes is as good as the research they do, and the evidence they put forth. Not much indication of either, in this case.

jayseebee
12-31-2002, 09:21 AM
Originally posted by Whack-a-Mole
Still, I think we still have some presumption of truth allowable to us. If the Guardian is reporting this and quoting governmental sources talking about it I don't think we, as the public, have taken leave of our senses to believe just any old thing.

The UK has a few problems but luckily, Anne Widdeciombe being a member of the Government is no longer one of them... go Tony.

IzzyR
12-31-2002, 11:38 AM
Artist Eats Baby (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&cid=573&ncid=573&e=5&u=/nm/20021231/od_nm/baby_dc)LONDON (Reuters) - A British television station defended a show in which a Chinese performance artist apparently eats a dead baby, calling it a "thought-provoking film about extreme art in China."

Channel 4, which upset viewers with a dissection of a human corpse last month, plans to air the documentary in which artist Zhu Yu shows off photographs of himself washing a dead stillborn baby in a sink and putting its dismembered parts in his mouth.

Politicians and media critics have condemned the plans but the Broadcasting Standards Commission said it could not address a program before it was shown.The show's presenter, a Sunday Times newspaper art critic, calls the work "suffering for your art on a messianic scale."

He added: "I expected to be horrified by him, but I found him peaceful, monastic and even charming. When the cameras were switched off he admitted he'd vomited twice before going through his baby performance. But it was crucial to do it, so he forced himself."

The presenter, who interviews the artist in his apartment, calls him "China's most notorious contemporary cannibal," and says he actually ate the baby's flesh.

Daoloth
12-31-2002, 02:05 PM
The Reuters article seems pretty convincing. I'm thinking Snopes and the Register may be wrong on this one.

hammerbach
12-31-2002, 03:50 PM
Brief hijack...


It is not only not a new thing to invoke cannibalism/infanticide for publicity and/or political reasons, it is a fairly old thing. For example :

Jonathan Swift's 1729 satire, "A Modest Proposal (http://art-bin.com/art/omodest.html) ", subtitled "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".

This was an example in which the aim was political change via satire of the sledgehammer type. I highly recommend this work for any aspiring satirist.

Perhaps, then, there IS some artistic content here, despite the nausea factor. (I am, of course, trying to give the benefit of the doubt.) Unfortunately, with the rather indirect view of this subject in particular, and my lack of cultural background in common with the "artist", I am unable to see it.

raygirvan
12-31-2002, 03:56 PM
astro
Blood Libel: Eating Children

It's worth remembering the source quoted in this thread: www.tibet.ca (Tibetans with a grievance about Tibet being occupied by China). However justified their cause, the blood libel is a very ancient propaganda line.

Re Zhu Yu: it occurred to me that one difficulty with this issue is that most media sources are jumping to two conclusions: either it's all fake (i.e. fake baby made of duck meat) or it's all true (i.e. cannibalism). Given that all we're seeing is still photos, what if the truth is somewhere in between: a real baby, but the eating is simulated?

It's not unknown for artists to use cadaver material, even in the West, and on chinese-art.com for a while his group have been openly on record as doing so. Presumably this means they are not doing anything illegal within their local jurisdiction.

Daoloth
12-31-2002, 05:47 PM
Here (http://www.jesus21.com/poppydixon/sex/chinese_eating_fetuses.html) is an interesting article on the alleged pracitce of Chinese people eating fetuses. Apparently some Representatives believe in it:

"...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."- Rep. Mark Souder, R Indiana, 1995

raygirvan
01-02-2003, 09:40 PM
I saw most of the documentary this evening, and it was interesting. Interviews with various artists suggested various motivations pretty common to artists anywhere: political protest, gender issues, life and death, and, in some cases, a desire to push the boundaries and shock people.

They had a political satirist who painted Maoist-style compositions, but featuring uniformed babies; a graffiti artist (again, political protest); a guy who dripped hot wax on himself; a woman who photographed her menstruation; a guy who photographed himself in women's clothing; another woman who went topless on the Great Wall (in reference to her mother, who had taking to going naked after becoming deranged following social ostracism); a couple of guys who marinaded a human penis in wine and drank it (the wine, that is); Zhu Yu the (supposed) baby eater; a married couple who made compositions with frozen cadavers (and had celebrated their engagement by passing their blood through dead conjoined twins); and a woman who made a curtain from living frogs, snakes and lobsters (as a comment on the struggle of life).

The programme made clear a number of cultural aspects of China that made it a little more comprehensible. For instance, cadavers seem more readily available to artists than in the West. The human penis wine seemed to be an extension of the reality that traditional remedy shops sell bull penis wine. The lobster curtain, the artist pointed out, had to be set against the fact that baskets of living lobsters are commonly seen outside restaurants.

What to conclude? I'm not sure. On the one hand, my gut feeling, from a Western viewpoint, was that many of the installations evidenced a certain callousness about animals and human remains. On the other, I wouldn't take much convincing that similar callousness probably happens here, but it's just kept behind the scenes (e.g. are battery hens any worse than baskets of lobsters?) A problem of cultural relativity.

IzzyR
01-03-2003, 09:27 AM
Originally posted by raygirvan
Re Zhu Yu: it occurred to me that one difficulty with this issue is that most media sources are jumping to two conclusions: either it's all fake (i.e. fake baby made of duck meat) or it's all true (i.e. cannibalism). Given that all we're seeing is still photos, what if the truth is somewhere in between: a real baby, but the eating is simulated?I don't know why you say that. Reuters refers unequivocally to a dead baby, but hedges on whether he actually eats it.

See also Artist Defends Baby-Eating (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&cid=573&ncid=573&e=6&u=/nm/20030103/od_nm/baby_dc)

raygirvan
01-03-2003, 01:11 PM
IzzyR:

At the time I posted, the story hadn't fully broken; despite the Reuters item you posted, most commentators so far had not questioned the fact of his "eating" whatever it was.