Fake Facebook Post: Chinese restaurant shut down for serving rats, cats, pups, and stereotypes

Fake Facebook Post about Chinese restaurant serving cats, dogs, and rats

Scrolling through my Facebook feed, I came across a shocking image of what looked like a frozen bag of rats/mice.

Shared by a friend and accompanied by the comment “EWwwwwww”, I was curious about the backstory. The caption for the image read:

A popular Asian/Chinese restaurant bistro here in Atlanta was closed down this morning after authorities received a tip that the owner was accepting shipments of rats and mice from a vendor to prepare in his dishes. The owner and his wife were arrested early this morning and charges are not known at this time. After a full search of the kitchen, authorities found, packaged rats, mice, kittens, puppies and a large frozen hawk.

Anyone that’s ever spent time reading newspapers or online, bells should be going off. It doesn’t take an investigative journalist to see something was off with this “report”. There’s no link to a news source, the owners weren’t named, and what’s the name of the popular restaurant? Oh yeah, that’s not there either. Not to mention the names of the celebrities that frequented the joint takes us back like a really good 90s mixtape:

The restaurant is a popular gathering spot for local celebrities such as Whitney Houston and husband Bobby Brown, Jermaine Dupree, Janet Jackson, Usher, Monica, Puffy, TI, Ludacris, Lil Jon, Toni Braxton, TLC and others. The restaurant has locations off Peachtree Road and Alpharetta near North Pointe Mall.

A quick search on “Asian bistro atlanta” served up no Google News listings, just this article from the Epoch Times about how the viral post was a complete fakeout; that the urban legend has been floating around for nearly 10 years.
According to About.com, the image of the vacuum-sealed plastic bag of mice “came from a website that sells food for pet snakes, not a restaurant freezer.”

That was easy. It took 8 seconds to discover that it’s a fake story. Unfortunately, not everyone spends the time to look deeper.

Pushing ‘Otherness,’ Perpetuating Stereotypes

My friend shared out this image from someone named Yunq Tune, whom re-posted this mythical “Chinese bistro” (again) 5 days ago. His original post got the expected three-lettered shocked responses (“eww,” “smh,” “wtf,” “omg”) of people that bought into the story.

As of this post, the image has been re-shared on Facebook more than 108,000 times

Original Facebook Post purporting Asian Bistro's bag of rats

Unless there’s an ulterior motive, I’m dumbfounded that smart, responsible people would actually post/re-share this shit. All it took was a quick Google search to find that it was a fake.

As an Asian, I am more sensitive to spreading irresponsible information about a misunderstood group. You would be too, if you were on the end of “Chinese eat dogs” and “Chinese eat cats” questions and jokes all your life. Making it even more relevant is the fact that my parents owned a Chinese restaurant for over 30 years.

The post has been re-shared over a hundred thousand times. This crap just perpetuates ignorance; that Asians chase down cats, kidnap dogs, or capture rodents and serve them up as chicken or beef in their restaurants. This is the same bullshit I heard when I was a kid 20 years ago, and somehow the urban legend still exists despite no real reports of this deceitful behavior to support it.

All this has a deeper social impact. It pushes old pre-conceived beliefs, stereotypes, and overall ignorance. It keeps the doors open to a whole slew of other social problems. Problems that are way too long to list or go over here. Agh.

Right now, there’s a couple teenagers in a Chinese restaurant talking with their friends about whether they’ve heard about that “Chinese restaurant that was closed down because they were serving rat meat” 

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7 thoughts on “Fake Facebook Post: Chinese restaurant shut down for serving rats, cats, pups, and stereotypes

  1. I live in CA. As a little girl I heard the rumors. Before I was 7 a Chinese Restaurant was shut down for using the alley cats in the chicken Chow Mein..Oakland, CA. In the early 80s…Fremont, CA., Bay Area News. Whites missing dogs in local park…Investigation. ..AA kidnapping dogs, eating as food and authorities need someone who speaks the language so they can understand Welcome but NOT in America.
    With that being said, thanks for the article. I just re-posted pic on my Fb 48 hours ago. So upset…Had to investigate. Will clarify to Fb friends. But who would gain from such a post?
    I disagree with you thinking its based on stereotypes. AA taught me by actions, otherwise I would know it was just a myth. Sorry, cant have it both ways. If you reply please do not compare, black crime rate because we both know about systematic racism. Servings animals on the “No Animal List” and not being able to get work because of your skin color is two different things. Again, based on race I can see WHY you think its based on stereotypes, but I reposted out of fear and wanted the knowledge out there for that reasons. I love Chinese food and other services your community bring to the Melting pot of America, but you cant get caught with the rat and the dog and claim innocence based on “dirty rats” and “barking dog”(=people and stereotypes of AsianAmericans. ) Would love for you to educate me because I did Share, but if I’m sincerely part of the problem, Im open to change based on a better understanding. Are you saying I did more harm to your community, then attempting to protect myself? I do agree that I was irresponsible for NOT following up before the repost/Share, but again, I heard the rumors, but AsianAmericans taught me the lesson. (Also other groups have “Chinese” Restaurants so when one.says “Chinese ” Restaurant it does make it more specific and personal. )

    1. Hi Loretta — thanks. I don’t think I need to say that just because a couple restaurants behaved this way, doesn’t mean that all Chinese restaurants practice this. Dog meat is not part of the cuisine across the majority of China – esp from Cantonese people, whom were the mass majority of Chinese restaurant owners in the 1970s-2000s. Feel free to share this article to refute the false Facebook post.

      1. I dont think it says ALL Chinese people are bad. Sometimes we can have an opinion about something and its not based on stereotypes. I shared as a be careful Warning. Some Blacks are sensitive too so when I look from the perspective of your article, you make a valid point. The best thing I did was research. The worst thing was reacting by re-posting without investigating first. I did inform my Fb friends about the fake story and let them know AsianAmericans are not happy and it’s a stereotype that needs to STOP! In the end I can see its like saying Blacks are lazy. Some maybe..others insulted. My repost was wrong and I apologize to you and your Community. Your article helped me see the bigger picture. Keep educating the people with your words.

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