Do satellite images show the Chinese burning thousands of bodies outside Wuhan?

Short answer: No.

Longer answer:  No, here’s the background:  There are a number of reports floating around that are implying that satellite data is showing high Sulphur Dioxide emissions outside Wuhan, China,and that means they are secretly burning thousands of bodies.  It’s being widely reported, especially on “alternative” news sites based on images from “”.  Here one such image (screenshot from

Well, it’s just not true.

There is a huge amount of satellite data available on-line.  It takes a lot of experience to interpret this data.  Unfortunately, there are people who think they can just download it and make pretty pictures, and understand what is going on. (There are also groups who know better, but do this to deliberately spread misinformation/propaganda  – looking at you, Bellingcat).   In this case, what the satellites are seeing are emissions from the huge steel mills located just outside the city.  Here are the hot spots from the VIIRS satellite for yesterday (February  9, 2020), overlaid over an October 17 2019 satellite image from Google Earth (NOTE: The image is static; the satellite hot spot overlay is not .. see addendum below).  You can clearly see this in a big industrial complex.

And for comparison, same background, but using Feb. 2017 (three years ago).  Virtually identical hot spots … 

Sulfur Dioxide emissions are in fact up, but that is because the kilns have to be kept hot, and emissions during a production shutdown are different from that during operations.

The Chinese are not exactly being honest and forthright about what is going on with respect to 2019-nCOV (the “coronavirus” outbreak there).  In the past they have often downplayed the impact of natural disasters, especially casualties and economic impacts.  That lack of transparency leads to crazy rumors, and this is yet another example.


Addendum:  The hot spots do change from day to day depending on plant operations.  Here is what it looked like last year … only couple of hot spots, but both in consistent locations with 2017 and 2020 …

4 thoughts on “Do satellite images show the Chinese burning thousands of bodies outside Wuhan?

  1. The Chinese have NEVER been open and honest about anything that does not put their country in the “best of light”. their goal of being a 1st world nation by 2050 depends on both the impression and the perception that “China is a tier 1 nation”

  2. Pingback: Some perspective on the COVID-19 coronavirus and global response | Enki Research

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