04/05/2006, 00.00
CHINA
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Gansu police discover remains of cooked children

The Public Security Bureau and local media confirmed the discovery of two human arms that seemed to belong to a child aged between five and eight years. They had been "mixed with ginger and chili".

Lanzhou (AsiaNews) – Police from the northern province of Gansu have found two cooked human arms, presumed to have belonged to children aged between five to eight years, in a Lanzhou landfill. A week ago, 121 human skulls were discovered in the same province. The news was reported by the South China Morning Post, citing local sources and media.

Staff at Chengguan district's Yangwagou landfill found the arms along with other remains in a white plastic bag on the morning of Monday 3 March. A local journalist said they appeared to have been "mixed" with cooking ingredients, including ginger and chilli. "The arms clearly belonged to a child and had the upper arm and forearm, and the hands with nails," the reporter said.

Peng Hailin, Lanzhou Public Security Bureau News Office director, confirmed the discovery, but he said it would take some time to determine whether the remains were those of a child. Local police have put victim's age at between five and eight years.

On 2 March, around five tons of rubbish were dumped on the site: medical and urban waste from the areas of Donggan and Yantan, as well as from Heping city, Yizhong Country, are dumped in the landfill. The discovery came a week after 121 human skulls were found in a remote river area of Tianzhu, another Gansu county.

This is not the only region in China where such gruesome discoveries are made. In Jiamusi, a city in Heilongjiang, police last month arrested a murderer charged with raping, killing and dismembering at least six children: the police report said the bodies found in the house were "barely recognizable".

According to inside sources, the Chinese authorities, including the Communist Party's Publicity Department and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, have ordered an immediate news blackout about such cases.

In 2003, the Guangdong Provincial Public Security Bureau sought to block reports that some restaurants in the southern province had cooked dead babies in soups and sold the food to businessmen from Taiwan and Hong Kong. Police said the reports had been fabricated to damage the image of Guangdong and the mainland.

In the nineties, also in Guangdong, a trade of trafficking fetuses was discovered: they were being boiled to make soups marketed as beauty and rejuvenation treatment.

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