A Chinese archaeologist claims that China has been tackling fake news and instituting quarantines for over three thousand years in a way of tackling disease and panic.
The claim was made by Song Zhenhao, an expert on ancient oracle bone inscriptions from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences who studied inscriptions written on pieces of bone and turtle shells.
He said that during the Shang Dynasty which lasted from 1600 BC to 1046 BC epidemics were frequent with people often looking to witchcraft or sacrifices to ward off evil spirits.
But he said that there was also an active government that had its own methods to stop the disease spreading which included not only treatment through practices like acupuncture, moxibustion in which dry plant materials are burned on or near the surface of the skin, and crucially quarantine.
He cited the example of an ox bone found in a Shang Dynasty ruins site in the city of Anyang which is in Henan Province that referenced what sacrifices should be made and is believed to be the earliest discussion about tackling disease since records began in China.
He added that fifty different diseases have been referenced in later inscriptions would show that people treated them with the utmost respect
He said: “People already knew about epidemics and disease transmission among people more than 3,000 years ago.”
And he added: “Some of these inscriptions also wrote about quarantine measures, which means people were proactively doing something to stay away from epidemics.”
“There were also measures against rumour mongering to maintain stability.”