December 18, 1996 - Li
Wenxian: A farmer from the southern Guangdong province, China, Li was
sentenced to death in the Canton Intermediate People's Court for killing
communist societies face a built-in disability in dealing with serial
killers, since state propaganda denies the existence of crime in a
"workers' paradise." Russian authorities learned the grim
truth over a span of two decades from butchers like GENNADIY
MIKHASEVICH (33 victims),
least 52 slain), and "IVAN
THE RIPPER" (never
publicly identified), but the notion of serial '11 new to Red China in
1991 when a faceless stalker surfaced in Guangzhou (formerly Canton).
slasher's first victim was reportedly found on February 22, 1991,
describes vaguely as a woman in her early twenties.
Her genitals were carved out with a knife, but the mutilation did
not prevent police from finding unspecified "evidence of sexual
Five more slayings followed in the next six months,
each victim reportedly subjected to a sexual assault, then smothered,
stabbed, or strangled, after which the bodies were dismembered, stuffed
in rice bags, and dumped on rubbish heaps in the bleak suburbs where
Guangzhou's "floating population" lives in dismal squalor.
And then, the murders stopped.
far, there had been no press coverage of the crimes in China, marking
the case as a "success" in terms of propaganda, even though
the murderer remained at large. Chinese
authorities tan out of luck in March of 1992 when a seventh victim
washed ashore in the nearby British colony of Hong Kong.
As describes in the South
China Morning Post, number seven had been slit from throat to
stomach, then crudely stitched shut again, her fingers severed almost as
an afterthought. Because no
women were reported missing from Hong Kong, ít was assumed the corpse
had floated in from mainland China, and thus the "Guangzhou
Ripper" was belatedly exposed.
then, ít was impossible for homicide investigators, reared from
childhood under Communism, to believe that their system would spawn such
Zhu Minjian, head of Guangzhou's provincial Criminal
Investigation Department, told reporters, "In all my thirty years
with the force, I have never come across anything like this.
Perhaps he copied from the West." Zhu said there been
"progress" in the case, but he was not prepared to share the
details. "We're putting a lot of effort into this case", he
declared. "We've got to solve it".
the murders continued for another four years, some victims bludgeoned
with a hammer in addition to being choked and stabbed repeatedly.
Thirteen women were dead by November 1996 when the Ripper made his first
mistake, leaving his latest victim alive. The woman identified her
attacker as Li Wenxian, a one-time farmer from southern Guangdong
province who had migrated to Guangzhou in 1991 and found work with a
In custody, Li confessed to the attacks, telling
police that he was motivated by revenge against all prostitutes, since
one of them had cheated him a short time after his arrival in Guangzhou.
Convicted by the Intermediate People's Court on charges of murder, rape
and robbery, Li was sentenced to death on December 18, 1996.
Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia
of Modern Serial Killers - Hunting Humans
Li Wenxian (13)
This farmer from the southern Guangdong province in
China is one of two entries in the Archives heralding from the People's
Republic of China. Li, 44, reportedly strangled and stabbed 13 women and
smashed their heads with a hammer out of revenge for being cheated by a
prostitute when he first moved to Canton, Guangdong's provincial
capital, to work in construction.
In all, Li took 17 women to an area in east Canton
between April 1992 and November 1996. 13 women were murdered and one was
seriously hurt. On December 18, 1996, the Canton Intermediate People's
Court sentenced Li to death for crimes including murder, rape and