China to re-investigate human flesh capsule claims

BEIJING - China will re-investigate allegations that Chinese-made drug capsules containing powdered flesh from dead babies that some people believe can cure disease are being smuggled into South Korea, state media reported Tuesday.

The official Xinhua News Agency said that according to a statement from Ministry of Health spokesman Deng Haihua an investigation launched in August found no proof that such capsules were being manufactured in China.

Deng was quoted as saying China would investigate again following new reports of such pills being smuggled into South Korea.

The statement was not posted on the ministry's website and calls to the ministry rang unanswered.

The Korea Customs Service said Monday it had seized capsules made in northeastern China from babies whose bodies were chopped into small pieces and dried on stoves before being turned into powder.

Deng said Chinese health departments would work with police, customs agencies and commerce authorities to investigate the latest claims, Xinhua said.

The South Korean customs agency began investigating after receiving a tip a year ago. No sicknesses have been reported from ingesting the capsules.

Korean customs officials have refused to say where the dead babies came from or who made the capsules, citing possible diplomatic friction with Beijing.

Koreasaid it had discovered 35 smuggling attempts since August of about 17,450 capsules disguised as stamina boosters, and some people believe them to be a panacea for disease. The capsules of human flesh, however, contained bacteria and other harmful ingredients.

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