A lengthy message (here and here) is doing the rounds on social media claiming that China banned Coca-Cola for human consumption and classified it as a cleaning material. Let’s verify the authenticity of this claim through this article.
Claim: China bans Coca-Cola for human consumption.
Fact: There are credible reports to support this claim. The Coca-Cola website in China is still functional. Additionally, news reports related to Coca-Cola China too have not mentioned anything about China banning the drink for human consumption. Contrary to that, recently, the President of the Greater China and Mongolia operating unit for the Coca-Cola company, Gilles Leclerc, spoke to the CEO magazine for an article about what’s next for Coca-Cola in the Chinese market. Nowhere in this article was it mentioned that Coca-Cola was banned for consumption in China. Hence, the claim made in the post is False.
To verify the viral claim, we first searched the internet using relevant keywords to see if the mainstream media had reported on China banning Coca-Cola for human consumption. This search did not yield any such news reports. Coca-Cola is a multi-billion dollar company that operates in many countries. If one of the world’s biggest economies, like China, decides to ban the beverage for human consumption, it would generally garner huge media attention. But that is not the case here.
Furthermore, we also checked whether Coca-Cola’s Chinese website is functional and learned that it is fully functional and has all the beverages sold by them listed on the website.
In addition to this, a keyword search on the internet to find recent news articles about Coca-Cola in China led us to several reports (here, here, and here). On 29 January 2024, the CEOMagazine published an interview with the President of the Greater China and Mongolia operating unit for the Coca-Cola company, Gilles Leclerc. In this interview, he was asked about the future of Coca-Cola in China. If China had banned Coca-Cola for human consumption recently, that would have been discussed in this interview, which is not the case. Also, they would not discuss the company’s future in the Chinese market without mentioning anything about the alleged ban.
All of this evidence proves that the viral claim could just be a false rumour. Also, through an additional internet search, we found an article on a Russian parody website named Panorama titled ‘Coca-Cola will be sold as a drain cleaner in China.’ The text in this article matches the lengthy viral message. This could very well be the source of the fake rumour. Further, we checked online to see if there were posts similar to the viral message before 2018 when Panorama published this article. We have not found any in 2017, but there were a few Facebook posts in 2018.
To sum up, China has not banned Coca-Cola for human consumption.