Zhang Yongming was sentenced to death for killing 11 people in Southwest China (xinhuanet)
Zhang Yongming was sentenced to death for killing 11 people in Southwest China (xinhuanet)

A Chinese serial killer who sold the flesh of his victims at a local market has been executed in southwest China.

Zhang Yongming, 57, was found guilty of murdering 11 people and selling their remains to unsuspecting customers in his village in the southwestern province of Yunnan between 2008 and 2012.

Many of his victims were teenagers and young men who had vanished from the village. A court in the southwestern city of Kunming had previously heard how Zhang "cut his victims into pieces to cover his tracks". State-run news agency Xinhua also reported Zhang burned the bodies of some of his victims to hide evidence.

Dubbed the "cannibal monster", Zhang had previously been sentenced to life imprisonment for murder in 1979 - having also dismembered his victim - but was released in 1997.

Hong Kong newspaper The Standard said that police raided Zhang's home after neighbours said they had seen green plastic bags which looked like they contained human bones hanging outside his home.

Once inside, police found human eyeballs preserved inside wine bottles and what appeared to be human flesh hanging up to dry.

Police believed Zhang had fed some of his victims to his dogs and sold others parts on a local market as "ostrich meat".

While it is not known how many people China executes a year, human rights group Amnesty claim the number is more than the rest of the world combined.

US-based group The Dui Hua Foundation estimated there were 4,000 prisoners executed in China in 2011, a fall of 50 percent since 2007.