Such rumors are, of course, untrue. As the hoax-busting website
However, the widespread coverage of the story in Chinese state media would suggest that the rumor had touched a nerve. Yang demanded an investigation by Zambia, prompting an apology from Zambian Deputy Defense Minister Christopher Mulenga. “The government of Zambia regrets the incident in view of the warm relations that exist between Zambia and China,” Mulenga was quoted as saying by China’s official Xinhua News Agency. “We shall make sure that relevant government authorities will take up the investigations and give a comprehensive statement.”
China has long had deep business ties with Zambia, with Beijing funding important infrastructure projects in the country and seeking Zambia’s natural resources to help sustain its own growing economy. However, China’s spreading influence in Zambia has bred resentment among many locals, who accuse China of providing low wages and dangerous working conditions at its projects. There have been a number of scandals involving Chinese projects in Zambia, including an explosion at a factory in 2005 that killed more than 50 Zambian workers.