Paul McCartney Demands China Crack Down on Wet Markets: ‘Whoever Is Responsible for This Is At War With the World’

Paul McCartney greets the crowd as he arrives onstage for his performance on day 2 of the 2016 Desert Trip music festival at Empire Polo Field on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016, in Indio, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Rock legend Paul McCartney has slammed the Chinese wet markets that are widely believed to have been a breeding ground for the Wuhan coronavirus that has since spread around the world. The former Beatle is also pushing fellow celebrities to come together to pressure China into closing the markets.

Paul McCartney, who is an animal rights activist, made his comments Tuesday in an interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM radio show. When Stern brought up the subject of wet markets — the open-air venues where merchants sell freshly slaughtered exotic animals for human consumption — McCartney said that Beijing needs to crack down on the ancient practice.

“I really hope that this will mean that the Chinese government — like you say they’ve got power, it’s not like they’re powerless — let’s hope they say, ‘OK, guys, we have really got to get super hygienic around here.’ And all those kinds of things. Let’s face it, it is a little bit medieval eating bats,” he said.

McCartney’s comments come shortly after Beijing gave the greenlight for wet markets to re-open in Wuhan and other cities. On Tuesday, the musician proposed that other celebrities join him to pressure Beijing into taking action.

“It is a very good idea,” he said. “They don’t need all the people dying. And what’s it for? Just for these quite medieval practices. They just need to clean up their act… who knows, this might lead to it. If this doesn’t, I don’t know what will.”

The rock star added sharper words: “They might as well be letting off atomic bombs, because it’s affecting the whole world. It’s like, whoever is responsible for this is at war with the world and itself.”

McCartney said China needs to get its people to change with the times. “They did slavery forever too, and you know, you gotta change things at some point.”

Last week, HBO host Bill Maher sounded a similar note by slamming the wet markets and calling them “the farmer’s market from hell.” The comedian called on China’a authoritarian rulers to put their absolute power to good use by finally shutting down the markets.

Follow David Ng on Twitter @HeyItsDavidNg. Have a tip? Contact me at


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.