The Grapevine

China Denies Rumors Of Exporting ‘Human Canned Meat’ To Africa

canned meat
Social media and tabloid sites have claimed that China has been exporting "human canned meat" to Zambia, but they're unfounded rumors. Pixabay, public domain

Unverified photos circulating on social media have created quite a ruckus, as they've been centered around rumors that China was exporting human canned meat to Zambia, a landlocked country located in southern Africa. While that may sound pretty gross, China’s ambassador to Zambia released a statement dismissing the notion that this is possible, calling it a totally fabricated rumor.

“Today a local tabloid newspaper is openly spreading a rumor, claiming that the Chinese use human meat to make corned beef and sell it to Africa,” Ambassador Yang Youming 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.”

Apparently, someone named Barbara Akosua Aboagye added the photos in question to her Facebook, asking people to share it with “all your contacts.” The photo set was subsequently shared over 26,000 times, and it appeared to be picked up by local tabloids in Zambia.

 

 

However, according to the rumor-busting site Snopes, the photos were not of a Chinese factory preparing human meat for cans to be sent to Zambia; instead, at least one of the photos is an image from a marketing stunt for Resident Evil. “Different versions of the above-displayed Facebook post have been around for many years, with a variety of gruesome images purportedly showing dead bodies being made into corned beef,” the Snopes article states. “These photographs come from a number of sources, but at least one of them was taken from a 2012 marketing stunt for the video game Resident Evil 6, in which a butcher shop selling fake 'human meat' was set up at London's Smithfield Market.”

China has developed strong economic ties to Zambia, so it makes sense that the Chinese government would find these rumors particularly concerning. China has funded infrastructure projects in Zambia, and relies on using the country’s natural resources for its own economy, according to The Washington Post.

Food safety concerns in China certainly haven’t been uncommon; there have been major scandals involving contaminated infant milk and expired meat. But it seems concerns about human canned meat are unfounded, and Zambia’s Deputy Defense Minister Christopher Mulenga has promised to investigate the reports.

"The government of Zambia regrets the incident in view of the warm relations that exist between Zambia and China," Mulenga said. "We shall make sure that relevant government authorities will take up the investigations and give a comprehensive statement."

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