China criticises Turkish state TV for report on bat meat

China has criticised Turkish state broadcaster TRT over a report saying bat meat continues to be sold in the country, despite a wide-held belief that the animal is the cause of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

A spokesperson for China's Consulate General in Turkey denied the authenticity of the TRT report on Twitter, asking if it was meant to be an April Fools’ joke.

"The video you use @trthaber was not shot in China. We don't have bats and pangolin in our cuisine. The seafood market, where the first case was reported, was not opened. Making such misleading video and news, is this an April Fools’ joke?" the spokesperson said.

TRT said the meat had once again become popular in China, where the COVID-19 virus has been drastically contained after wreaking havoc for months.

The coronavirus is believed to have originated in a food market in the Chinese city of Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife. Health experts maintain the virus may have originated in bats and then passed to humans, possibly via other species.