Chinese officials have been forced to deny rumours that human meat is being packaged as corned beef and exported to Africa.
The cans are said to have been exported to Zambia – where they were being sold on shelves in everyday stores, reports The Shanghaiist.
Chinese Ambassador to Zambia, Yang Youming, issued the bizarre statement after rumours began circulating on Zambian social media – along with some pretty disturbing pictures – and even a report in one local newspaper.
The paper quoted a Zambian woman living in China who told people to steer clear of Chinese corned beef, because it is actually people.
She claimed that Chinese beef companies were collecting corpses, marinating them, packing them inside tin cans labelled as corned beef and then shipping them off to Africa.
She is quoted as saying:
I discovered it a few weeks ago, when I was invited to an interview in a large beef packing company.
However I was later chased away when they discovered that I was from Southern Africa.
Don’t worry though, the rumour does seem to be false.
Snopes.com has found that the photographs of alleged ‘human flesh’ shared online are actually from a 2012 marketing stunt for Resident Evil 6.
Ambassador Yang said:
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.
Yang also demanded an investigation into the rumours to which Zambian Deputy Defense Minister Christopher Mulenga replied:
We shall make sure that relevant government authorities will take up the investigations and give a comprehensive statement.
Well, that escalated quickly…