Human body parts found at a landfill in Lanzhou on Monday were from a laboratory specimen and not the remains of a grisly murder, according to local police.
The Lanzhou Public Security Bureau said the upper arms and other body tissue discovered at the site were leftovers from the construction of a human teaching specimen by a laboratory connected to the Gansu College of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Police said the remains were put into a white plastic bag in front of the laboratory door on March 31 and were supposed to be taken to a medical waste facility the next day.
But a cleaner mistook the bag for general waste and put it in a rubbish cart. The bag was dumped at the landfill in Chengguan district, where it was discovered by scrap collectors. Police said a 30cm rusty steel saw blade, two pieces of paper with the college's logo and a card belonging to a college social club were also found in the bag.
'The blade was used to cut the parts from the specimen,' said the bureau's propaganda director, Peng Hailin . 'And we did not find any cooking ingredients as the media reported.'
Under the headline, 'Cooked child's limbs found at a Gansu landfill', the Lanzhou Morning Post had reported that two arms were found in the bag along with other meat, bones, ginger and chilli.
It quoted a police officer at the scene as estimating the victim's age to have been between five and eight years.
Reporter Tang Yuanzhi said he had not seen the bag himself and had based the story on other people's descriptions.