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China has strenuously denied reports that it's routinely canning human flesh and selling it as food to African nations.
A top official has dismissed reports in Zambia which queried the provenance of some 'meat products' being shipped from China to the African continent.
In the media reports, an unnamed Zambian woman living in China reportedly issued warnings to Africans not to eat corned beef.
She claimed that dead human bodies were being collected and marinated before being canned and labelled as corned beef for human consumption .
Chinese officials have demanded an investigation into the reports it claims are baseless
But the statement, issued by the Chinese Ambassador to Zambia, Yang Youming, blames people spreading "malicious" rumours.Getty
China has robustly denied the accusations levelled online and in Zambian media
He told Chinese news agency Xinhua : "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."Getty
The Facebook sharing of images of supposed human meat has been exposed as fake
A comprehensive investigation has been promised by the Zambian Deputy Defense Minister Christopher Mulenga.
He said: "The government of Zambia regrets the incident in view of the warm relations that exist between Zambia and China."
Some reports have been quoting workers in Chinese meat factories, who claim the measures began because there is limited burial space.
They said non-human meat was being sent to more powerful trade partners.
Shocking images, said to show human bodies being prepared for the process, have been exposed as fakes from a 2012 marketing stunt for the video game Resident Evil 6.
The reports come just two months after China and Zambia signed a treaty cementing close ties between the countries.