Are there zombies in China? Viral TikTok trend explained - how to prepare for a zombie apocalypse

Are there zombies in China? Is a zombie apocalypse happening right now? Are zombies real? Users on TikTok seem to believe so

A new trend on social media has left some users worried about a real life zombie outbreak supposedly happening in China.

To quickly answer the question of whether or not there are zombies in China - no, there are no zombies in China.

Zombies don’t exist and there is not a zombie apocalypse on the horizon ready to end the world.

However, it appears that the combination of the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak and pandemic has left some concerned about a potential Walking Dead situation.

This is what you need to know about the online trend.

Where did ‘Zombies in China’ come from?

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The trend appears to have emerged as a result of a misunderstanding of a 2021 opinion piece from We Are The Mighty, titled “This is how a zombie apocalypse is most likely to start in China”.

According to its website, We Are The Mighty is a “veteran-led digital publisher and media agency servicing brands with video production, marketing, advertising, and consulting services to engage with the military community”.

An actress and an actor dressed as zombies perform as customers dine in The Lock Up Tokyo prison themed restaurant in Tokyo, Japan (Photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)

The article explains why a zombie apocalypse is “most likely” to break out in China, and uses excerpts from Max Brooks’ book World War Z, a fictional zombie apocalypse horror novel published in 2006.

The author of the article states that “China would suppress news of an outbreak” and quotes Brooks’ book as saying: “By refusing to admit the truth of the zombie outbreak to the world, the Communist Chinese government aided its spread due to misinformation about what was actually happening.”

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How did the trend get started on social media?

As with most internet trends, it’s unclear how the whole “Zombies in China” thing got started online.

Users on TikTok and Twitter began talking about the trend, and many appeared to incorrectly believe that it was real.

A zombie figure is displayed in the lobby of Madame Tussauds for Halloween on October 31, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

The hashtag #ZombiesinChina has received over 4.3 million views on TikTok as users shared their concern, and their jokes, about the possible zombie outbreak.

Users on TikTok look to be perpetuating the idea of a zombie outbreak in China, posting videos and clips of zombies from films and TV shows and claiming them to be real.

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How would I prepare for a zombie outbreak?

If you’re worried about a potential zombie outbreak and want to know how you can prepare for such a scenario, then you’re in luck - in 2011, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a guide that outlined how to prepare for a “zombie pandemic”.

The description of the guide states: “The CDC has a fun new way of teaching the importance of emergency preparedness. Our graphic novel, "Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic" demonstrates the importance of being prepared in an entertaining way that people of all ages will enjoy.

“Readers follow Todd, Julie, and their dog Max as a strange new disease begins spreading, turning ordinary people into zombies.

People in zombie costumes participate in the annual Village Halloween parade on Sixth Avenue on October 31, 2019 in New York. (Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)

“Stick around to the end for a surprising twist that will drive home the importance of being prepared for any emergency.

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“Included in the novel is a Preparedness Checklist so that readers can get their family, workplace, or school ready before disaster strikes.”

The “preparedness checklist” includes things like:

  • Water - one gallon per person, per day
  • Food - nonperishable, easy to prepare items (minimum three day supply)
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand crack radio 
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit (whistle, antibiotic ointment, bandages, face masks, gloves)
  • Medications (seven day supply and medicinal dispensaries if necessary)
  • Multipurpose supplies (wrench, pliers, plastic sheet, duct tape, scissors, matches)
  • Sanitation/personal hygiene items and bleach
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies) 
  • Cell phone with charger
  • Family Disaster Plan (family and emergency contact information)
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket, extra clothes, sleeping bag (one for each person)
  • Map(s) of the area