Police in Lanzhou, northwest China's Gansu province, have dismissed the recent widespread rumors of binoculars being sold containing needles tipped with a powerful anesthetic meant to incapacitate the unwitting viewer, China Central Television reported on Sunday.
The rumor, of unknown origin, claimed that the needles would pierce a viewer in the eyes when he or she adjusted the zooming knob on the binoculars. The aenesthetic on the tip of the needles would incapacitate the would-be patron, and his or her organs would be harvested.
Additionally, the rumor, which alleged that a person was selling the "harmful" binoculars out of a car in northeast China's Liaoning province, originally gained traction on WeChat, China's most popular mobile messaging app.
Lanzhou police recently confirmed that news of the "harmful binoculars" is purely made up, claiming that the binoculars sold by the car owner mentioned in the rumor are not harmful--just sub-standard.
Lanzhou policeman Xue Shouming proved that these binoculars were not harmful when he put a pair of them up to his eyes and adjusted the sights on China Central Television on Sunday. He walked away from the demonstration completely unharmed.
Yuan Zhenlong, a researcher in Beijing Academy of Social Sciences, believes that, by taking advantage of people's curiosity and credulousness, the rumor captivated WeChat users and spread quickly.
Police in Beijing, Shandong, Shanxi and other regions have also dismissed similar rumors.