Unidentified assailants fatally stabbed Li, 30, at least 10 times early in the morning, news reports said. Police told reporters that the journalist's laptop, camera, and wallet were stolen during the assault.
News accounts reported that Li may have been targeted for his coverage of a recent food scandal involving the recycling of waste oil into cooking oil. Police had arrested 32 people and confiscated 100 tons of the carcinogenic product known as "gutter oil" from Henan and two other provinces, according to Agence France-Presse. In his last microblog post, Li highlighted a discrepancy between the illegal oil manufacturing reported in Henan and the findings of local food safety officials who had denied the existence of such illicit production, news reports said.
Police arrested two suspects on September 21. Local news reports said the motive was robbery, although a police spokesperson told AFP the case was still under investigation.