Where is Xiangnan Li now? Explained

By Louie Fecou
Published: May 15, 2023
Where is Xiangnan Li now

Where is Xiangnan Li now? We discuss a compelling true crime case and the horrific murder of Shao Tong. 

True crime documentaries are big business for networks, and Warner Bros. is reaping the rewards with their channel Investigation Discovery.

A mainstay of the channel is See No Evil, a true crime series that uses the staples of CCTV, interviews, and talking heads to explore some disturbing cases.

One such case on the show was the detailed investigation into the death of a nineteen-year-old Chinese girl in Iowa in 2014. What should have been a straightforward case became a nightmare that involved two countries and a carefully orchestrated exploration of the mind of a murderer.

This article will look at the case details and try to explain where Xiangnan Li is now.

Who is Xiangnan Li?

Xiangnan Li was the boyfriend of the murdered student Shao Tong. Shao had been a student studying English in Beijing but had left unexpectedly, leading friends to eventually contact the authorities.

Xiangnan Li came from a wealthy family in Wenzhou, Southern China, and the show explains his obsession with Shao and the lengths he went to to be with her. He would transfer to the University of Iowa from Rochester Institute of Technology to be near Shao and live with her until his term in Iowa City in 2013.

He would also travel over three hundred miles to meet with her parents in Beijing, who disapproved of him, despite his wealth and upbringing. It was also apparent that Shao’s friends were also wary of him, and his standoffish nature meant he did not associate with people, despite the Chinese community normally being very close.

What did Xiangnan Li Do?

The couple often left Shao’s apartment and stayed in hotel rooms at the weekend. On a particularly tragic weekend in September 2014, the couple would book into a hotel that they often frequented in Nevada. Xiangnan and Shao had stayed at this particular venue a few times before, and it was not long before the horror of this particular visit would become apparent.

The story explains how Xiangnan had overheard Shao talking and complaining about him to a friend.

Soon after, he would murder the young student in the hotel room, then try to hide the body before leaving the hotel during the night and catch a flight from Ceder Rapids to China, texting Shao’s friends from her phone to keep them off guard while he made his escape.

Police would find evidence in the hotel room that foul play had occurred, and it looked as if Shao had been murdered.

Her body was hidden in the trunk of her car and left in the car park of his apartment complex before fleeing. There was evidence of blunt head trauma, a dumbbell was found next to the body, and it also appeared that Shao had been suffocated too.

Searching his apartment, the cops would find evidence that he had made a hasty escape, and some documents that detailed his travel plans were also found in Shao’s car.

Where is Xiangnan Li now?

The obsessed murderer is in jail in China. Johnson County district attorney’s office had no doubt what had happened and charged Xiangnan with first-degree murder. They issued an arrest warrant in March 2015. Chinese authorities were aware of the situation and on social media. There were campaigns demanding his arrest.

Chinese police would eventually cooperate with their American counterparts, leading to investigators flying to Iowa in April 2015 on a fact-finding mission regarding the crime.

Xiangnan surrendered to the Wenzhou authorities in May of 2015 and was jailed in China after pleading guilty to the murder.

Even though Xiangnan committed the crimes in Iowa, the case was tried in China.

The US and China do not have an extradition treaty.

How long will Xiangnan Li be in prison?

In 2016 he received a life sentence, but there is a chance that the ruling could be reduced to thirteen years.

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