Thursday, May 26, 2016

Death by Thousand Cuts


Death by Thousand Cuts – Lingering Death/Slow Slicing

Lingchi translated as death by a thousand cuts the slow process, the lingering death or slow slicing which was a kind of torture and execution utilised in China from around AD 900 till it was banned in 1905. Lingchi involved amputation from the living torso and the executioner ensured not to bleed the victim too much so as to prolong death till the final cuts to the throat or heart was made. It was a brutal and a slow process, a punishment which was carried on into the afterlife which was considered that a person killed by lingchi would not be whole after death.

It had also been used in Vietnam and in this form of execution; a knife was used to systematically remove sections of the body over an extended period of time which ultimately lead to death. Lingchi had been kept for crimes and regarded as severe like high betrayal, or murder, where some westerners had been executed in this way. Even when the practice had been banned the idea still remained across several kinds of media. The process would involve tying the condemned criminal to a wooden frame generally in a public place. The flesh would then be cut from the body in various slices.

Punishment Worked on Three Levels

The punishment worked on three levels – as a form of public humiliation, as a slow and lingering death and as a punishment after death.As per the Confucian principle of filial piety, to change one’s body or to cut the body was said to be unfilial practices and Lingchi thus breaks the demands of filial piety. Besides this, to be cut to pieces would mean that the body of the victim would not be complete in spiritual life after death and this system of execution became a feature in the image of China as well as among some of the westerners.

Lingchi was used as a form of torture and execution for a living person or was applied as an act of humiliation after death and was inflicted for major offences like mass murder, high disloyalty. The Emperors utilised it to threaten people and at times ordered for minor crimes. At times there were forced convictions as well as wrongful executions. Some of the emperors also carried out this means of punishment to the family members of their enemies.

Lingchi – Most Brutal Torture System

As per the book of Sir Henry Norman – The People and Politics of the Far East, it is said that the executioner sliced off the pieces by grasping handfuls from the fleshy parts of the body, like the thighs and the breast and then the limbs were cut off fragmentary at the wrist and the ankles, the elbows and the knees, the shoulders and the hip. Eventually the victim would be stabbed in the heart and have his head cut off.

Lingchi is said to be one of the most brutal torture system which had been photographed in the 1800s with the arrival of the camera which seems to be very scary photos of slow process, lingering death or slow slicing, the most gruesome torture to a condemned victim.

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