This is a new cannibal story. Due to the apparent blocking of the word "cannibal" (食人魔) by the Chinese government and/or media, the recent news of a cannibal serial killer has taken some time to be disseminated widely. (Revisit my recent overview of cannibals here.)
According to the Washington Post, on May 27, 2012, an arrest of 56-year-old Zhang Yongming in southwestern China occurred. He was accused of killing 11 people and dismembering, burning and burying their bodies to destroy the evidence. He allegedly attacked male victims walking on the quiet road near his home in Jinning county. The word "cannibal" was not used in the American story.
Details were graphically being given elsewhere (as per the photograph above).
An article in the Daily Telegraph said it all in their headline: "China's 'Cannibal Monster' Detained."
One critical sentence, tied to the headline, was this one:
Zhang, a loner who never talked to his neighbours, had previously served almost 20 years in jail for murder and was known in the village as the "cannibal monster."Other details emerged in the story:
The man is believed to have chopped up their bodies and sold the flesh to unsuspecting consumers.
Police made the gruesome discovery during an investigation into the disappearances of male teenagers in Yunnan province in recent years, according to reports in Hong Kong and Chinese media…
…residents…had seen green plastic bags hanging from his home, with what appeared to be white bones protruding from the top.
Hong Kong newspaper The Standard said police discovered human eyeballs preserved inside wine bottles - "like snake wine" - and pieces of what appeared to be human flesh hanging up to dry when they entered Zhang's home.
Police feared that Zhang had fed human flesh to his three dogs, while selling other parts on the market, calling it "ostrich meat"...
Cannibalism is a particularly sensitive subject in China, where it was practised as a survival tactic during periods of mass starvation, for example in the wake of a failed industrialisation drive launched in the late 1950s.
Individual cases of cannibalism were also recorded during the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, when it was carried out as a symbolic act against perceived enemies of the communist cause.