Serial Killer coined “Cannibal Monster” Zhang Yongming, 57, was found guilty of murdering, dismembering, and selling the body parts as “ostrich meat” of 11 victims in local Chinese markets. His method for selling off the body parts was an effort to cover his tracks. Unsuspecting buyers were walking off the physical evidence.
It was initially believed Zhang had murdered and mutilated at least 20 people, most of them young boys, in the Yunnan province and ate his victims, according to CBS News. Cannibalism, also called anthropophagy, is the act or practice of humans eating the flesh or internal organs of other human beings.
Zhang had a previous conviction of murder in 1978, but had been released in 1997. Neighbors told a local newspaper that they had seen green plastic bags hanging from his home with what resembled white bones protruding from the top, according to the Daily Mail.
Upon entering Zhang’s home in May 2012, police discovered eyeballs preserved in wine bottles and dried human meat.
He was sentenced to death in July and was executed today in southwest China for his crimes.
US based advocacy group, The Duihua Foundation, estimates that 4,000 prisoners were executed in 2011. In North Korea, a Yonhap news agency reported three people were executed over the past few years for cannibalism. A man was executed for killing a girl and eating her in December 2009 and a father and son were killed in 2006 after being found guilty of cannibalism.
Cannibalism is a particularly sensitive subject in China. It was practiced during periods of mass starvation as a survival tactic, including in the wake of Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward in the late 1950’s. Allegedly 45 million people were killed over the course of four years during the Great Leap Forward.