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China supplying Africa with corned beef made from dead people? No, it's a hoax

Photos of what seems to be a dead human body lying on a butchery table have been circulating on Facebook.

They’re captioned: "Chinese people have started producing corned beef with their dead bodies and sending them to Africa. Please stay away from corned beef irrespective of brand, most especially in Africa and from Afro-Asian grocery shops.”

Marketing stunt to promote release of Resident Evil 6

A reverse image search brings up similar images that lead to an article, posted on My Gaming in 2012. The article says the "human body" was sculpted out of raw meat as a marketing stunt to promote the release of the game Resident Evil 6.

Capcom, a manufacturer and distributor of computer game consoles, had set up an exhibit titled "Wesker & Son Resident Evil Human Butchery". The exhibit featured animal meat fashioned into human body parts to promote the game.

A 2012 Huffington Post article explains that Resident Evil is a “survival horror video game series that’s bloody, to say the least”. The article assures readers that the meat in the photo is not human flesh, “although it’s unclear what meat is used”. The sculpture was created by artist Sharon Baker.

The article says the “human butchery” exhibit was held set at London's Smithfield Market in September 2012.

Hoax circulating since 2016

It’s not the first time the photos have been used in a hoax.

In 2016 the photos started making the rounds on Facebook with the claim that China was marinating dead bodies, canning them and selling them in African countries. The rumour was apparently encouraged by the press in Zambia, which published articles quoting “sources” from Chinese meat factories.

China’s ambassador to Zambia Yang Youming issued a strong denial.

“This is completely a malicious slandering and vilification which is absolutely unacceptable to us,” he said.

“We hereby express our utmost anger and the strongest condemnation over such an act.”

Zambia's deputy defence minister Christopher Mulenga said he would have the reports investigated. – Africa Check (20/05/19)

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