Lingchi !!

Despite outcry of Amnesty, Human Rights Activists protests against Death Penalty people are being administrated leathal injections, facing firing squad, beheading, hanging to strangulate…

The last one is the process India follows to execute those involved in rare of the rarest crimes or mass men slaughtering. You must remember last twosome who executed here, yes the man who fired bullets and hurled grenades on innocent people in Mumbai, and another who found responsible for the attack on Parliament of India. Both were condemned and so, executed in Pune and Delhi respectively. Most importantly, it was done discreetly.

Still, sometimes we find ourself in a kind of disgust when we think how a man feels standing on removeable wooden plateform, is it cruelty? If you to think so, come with me I will tell you what Chinese process was in practice.

1905: Fou Tchou-Li suffered the last execution by lingchi in Beijing, for the murder of a Mongolian prince.

Thousands Cuts to Kill

It was a legal method to give agonising death.

woman to lingchi
People of China are still supposed to be cruellest in world.

woman executed
Chinese documents and history journals skip the Lingchi.

Lingchi, or slow slicing, involved the public dismemberment of the victim.

As The first stroke is generally to the
right breast, which is slowly
removed leaving a deep circular wound.

If the condemned is lucky, either due too be given a lighter
form of this execution, or a bribe
has been paid, the knife is passed through the rib cage piercing the
heart making death instantaneous.

If not then the full horror of the torture and execution is felt until
the body finally gives up.

Parts are placed in a wicker basket
at the condemned’s feet. These
are followed by the thighs, biceps and the other majority muscles found on the limbs.

The horror was such, it became iconic to westerners as image of exotic Chinese cruelty — albeit iconic in a mythicized form, the account conflicting, undependable, Orientalist.

Lingchi is especially notable- apart from fathering the phrase “death by a thousand cuts” in the English lexicology— for its overlap with the era of photography. Fou Tchou-Li’s death was captured on film, and the images famously captivated Georges Bataille for the expression of seeming ecstasy on the face of the dying (or dead) man. Bataille was said to meditate daily upon the image in particular— “I never stopped being obsessed by this image of pain, at the same time ecstatic and intolerable.”

In Regarding the Pain of Others, Susan Sontag explained the mystical nexus of pleasure and pain Fou Tchou Li’s torture suggested to the French theorist, aptly comparing it to graphic but pre photographic exaltations of torture in the western artistic tradition, such as Saint Sebastian: To contemplate this image, according to Bataille, is both a mortification of the feelings and a liberation of tabooed erotic knowledge — a complex response that many people must find hard to credit.

Bataille is not saying that he takes pleasure in the sight of this excruciation. But he is saying that he can imagine extreme suffering as a kind of transfiguration. It is a view of suffering, of the pain of others, that is rooted in religious thinking, which links pain to sacrifice, sacrifice to exultation— a view that could not be more alien to a modern sensibility.

It’s no idle point to say that all this reads quite a lot into a single frame that may not be all that representative of the moment, though that wouldn’t necessarily diminish Bataille’s gist. More, these are western interpretations of- projections upon — an image marked as fundamentally outside in a tableau irresistibly blending the colonizer and the colonized.

The execution was ordered in the last days of the Qing Dynasty, which had long been substantially beholden to European states, especially the British; the prisoner was apparently administered opium to numb the pain, the very product Britain had gone to war to force China to accept.

Taiwanese video artist Chen Chieh-jen interpreted the photography that so captivated Bataille, and its colonial context, in Lingchi: Echoes of a Historical Photograph ( review). Two weeks after this date, China abolished the punishment for good.

Credits: History of Death by Techki Wunwgl

About Shabab Khan

A Journalist, Philanthropist; Author of 'The Magician', 'Go!', 'Brutal'. Being a passionate writer, I am into Journalism and writing columns, news stories, articles for top media house. Twitter: @khantastix
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4 Responses to Lingchi !!

  1. indrani says:

    Oh! What a painful read. Couldn’t go till the end. :(


    • Grazie... says:

      Hi Indrani ma’am, yes lingchi was the casual way to torture in china. Even today’s world chinese are the callous at 1st degree. Thanks for reading.


  2. OHHH! I’ve no words… :-(


    • Grazie... says:

      Hi Maniparna ma’am… Yes, lingchi paralyse the thoughts, the way they would do beats the cruelty of Talibans. Thanks for reading n commenting. O yes i am a big fan of your poetic expression.

      Liked by 1 person

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