Fact Check: UN Is NOT 'Having China Build Thousands' Of Robots That Could Scoop Up Human Bodies

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: UN Is NOT 'Having China Build Thousands' Of Robots That Could Scoop Up Human Bodies Not On Order

Is the United Nations "having China build thousands" of robots that could scoop up human bodies? No, that's not true: In an August 15, 2022, email to Lead Stories, Farhan Aziz Haq, deputy spokesman for the U.N. Secretary-General, said the story is false, adding that any elaboration by him would give the claim "more credence than it merits."

The claim, with a 10-second video showing what is known as a rescue robot in action, appeared in a Facebook post and video on August 8, 2022, under the title "Interesting... 🤔🤨🤯." It opened:

What or Who are they making these for???

Why is the U.N. having China build thousands of these?

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

body robots.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Aug 15 18:01:21 2022 UTC)

Ominous backdrop

The clip takes a demonstration video, showing how a rescue robot works, and casts it in a different light by playing sinister-sounding music underneath as it moves a dummy body from the ground and into the belly of the device.

There is no narration, so it's up to the viewer to interpret the message for themselves, but other videos using the same clip on social media suggest China is building a people-eating robot (here and here).

Rescue robots

Rescue robots like the one pictured in the Facebook post above are designed to go places where it might be too hazardous for rescuers.

Haq dismissed the notion that the United Nations was having China build thousands of them for the international agency:

You can quote me as saying this article is false. Any further detail would give more credence than it merits.

A rescue robot similar to the one in the Facebook post appeared on the Device Plus website on July 31, 2019:

device plus.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Aug 15 20:47:40 2022 UTC)

The Medgadget website featured another rescue robot of a similar design in an April 2, 2007, article:

The new Japanese unmanned rescue robot is made to scoop people off places where it might be too hazardous for trained rescuers to be. According to the manufacturer's site, the Robokiyu approaches a collapsed person, extends its metal arms to grasp the clothes, and pulls the victim to rescue.


(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Aug 15 20:47:40 2022 UTC)

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  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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