On Wikipedia, there is a snippet that reads:
The Hongwu Emperor flayed many servants, officials and rebels. In 1396 he ordered the flaying of 5000 women.
The problem is that the second sentence is the only information I can find about such an episode; the single citation is to a Chinese book:
陈学霖(2001). 史林漫识. China Friendship Publishing Company.
I don't have access to this book (by Hok-lam Chan), and the only English results online go right back to the reference on flaying, so none explain why the execution was performed. Although the lack of references suggests this may be a hoax, it is not out-of-character, as Hongwu and his successor Yongle were both noted for paranoia and cruelty, with the latter torturing 2800 ladies-in-waiting to death.
Can someone with access to the sources check whether this really did happen, and if so what the reason was?