The People’s Daily, a Chinese news website, has published a video showing a fish appearing to be “brought back to life.” The footage shows a lifeless carp suddenly being revived with a sprinkle of white powder.
The powder is believed to be sodium peroxide. When added to water it quickly breaks down into oxygen, making the water more oxygenated. The chemical is hence used to transport fish and, in China, fishmongers use it to make their fish look fresher and more appealing to customers. It's therefore possible that the reaction was related to low oxygen levels present in the bowl, which were then suddenly increased by adding this chemical, thus allowing the suffocating fish to respire.
The clip was originally part of a news feature on CCTV, the country's state television station. According to The Daily Mail, Li Xiaozheng, the vice president from Guangxi Fisheries Science Research Institute, said on the program that responsible use of the chemical is harmless to human health and it is actually considered a “health supplement” for fish.