The Chinese government has issued a statement strongly dismissing reports of packaging human meat as corned beef and sending it to African grocery stores.
The widespread coverage of the story in Chinese state media would suggest that the rumor had touched a nerve.
The government was forced to respond after several African publications reported the allegations, made by Facebook user Barbara Akosua Aboagye in a post which has since been shared 26,168 times.
She claimed that dead human bodies were being collected and marinated before being canned and labelled as corned beef for human consumption.
Several reports speculated the reason behind exporting human meat is due to China’s overpopulation, suggesting the country is unable to find space to bury its dead.
Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Yang Youming issued a statement on Chinese State Media, saying:
“Today a local tabloid newspaper is openly spreading a rumour, claiming that the Chinese use human meat to make corned beef and sell it to Africa.”
“This is completely a malicious slandering and vilification which is absolutely unacceptable to us. We hereby express our utmost anger and the strongest condemnation over such an act.”
Zambia’s deputy defence minister Christopher Mulenga has vowed the government will launch an investigation into the damaging reports.
“The government of Zambia regrets the incident in view of the warm relations that exist between Zambia and China.”
“We shall make sure that relevant government authorities will take up the investigations and give a comprehensive statement,”
China has long had deep business ties with Zambia, with Beijing funding important infrastructure projects in the country and seeking Zambia’s natural resources to help sustain its own growing economy.
(The cover image used is the representational image for the article).