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CHINESE TORTURES.

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CHINESE TORTURES. When they are victorious in battle the Chinese are cruel conquerors. They often inflict horrible tortures, not only upon their prisoners of war, but even upon the unoffending inhabitants of vanquished lands. They carry this love for torture even into civil life, and display a horrible ingenuity in producing the greatest possible suffering with the least apparent means of inflicting it. One of the ordinary punishments in China is the compulsory kneeling, bare-legged, on a coiled chain. This does not sound particularly dread- ful, but the agony it causes is undescribable, especially as two guards are stationed over the sufferer to prevent him from seeking even transitory relief by shifting his posture The most common torture in China is the cangue, a sort of movable pillory. A piece of wood four feet square and nearly four inches thick has a hole in the middle, through which the culprit's head is passed. The machine opens with a hinge, and when closed is locked. A placard designating the supposed offence is passed thereon. So long as the cangue is worn the victim cannot feel himself, and would starve were it not for the casual contributions of friends. The great terror of the cangue lies in the excruciating pains caused by carrying such a weight upon the neck and shoulders. Three months is the legal term of the use of this instrument. Finger squeezing is also quite common. Four pieces of bamboo are tied together loosely at one end a string passes through the other ends, so arranged that by pulling tliey may be drawn closely together. The fingers are introduced between the bomboos, and so by pulling at the string they can be crushed to pieces. This torture is frequently employed by the mandarins, when endeavouring to extort money from those suspected of concealing their wealth. The ankles are squeezed after a similar fashion, only the bamboos used are much larger. Most of the minor tortures-that is, those 1:1 not aimed directly at life-are employed by the mandarins to extort money. These, rnandarilis, who are set as petty governors over districts, have but limited terms of office, and may, indeed, be transferred at any time. As they are required to make up a certain sum of money for their superior officers, and have also to keep up considerable state on a nominal salary, they oppress the people to the utmost of their power, looking upon them merely as tax- producing animals. Beating with the bamboo is very common. There are two kinds of bamboo used for this purpose, the small and the large. The latter is capable of producing death if used with severity. Even the lesser bamboo, if the blows be struck with the edge instead of the flat, bruises the flesh so as to bring on mortification of which the sufferer is sure to die in a few days. A Celestial of forethought, however, does not suffer much from the bamboo. He bribes the executioner, who strikes so as to produce a very effective-sounding blow, but in reality inflicts very little injury. Or he bribes a man to act as a substitute, and, just as the first blow is about to be struck, some of the bribed officers get between the judge and the culprit, while the latter rolls out of the way and the hired substitute takes his place. In China, men care little for their skins, or even for their lives, and it is possible to purchase even a substitute for capital punishment. In this the chief difficulty is not to find the substitute, but toraise enough money to bribe all the officials who must act in concert at the execution. Then there is the snake torture. The victim is made to kneel. Tubes of soft metal fashioned like coiling snakes are wound about his naked arms and body. the snakes have open mouths into which boiling water is poured, producing a most horrible torture. Afavourite"punishineiit is to hang the prisoner head downward by the wrists and ankles from a crossbar several feet high. Again, the victim is hung by one wrist and one ankle from a crossbar. Sometimes he is made to sit in a most uncomfort- able position on a bamboo chair, and is then tied securely in that posture, so that he may not move at all. Capital punishments are inflicted in various ways in the Flowery Kingdom. The mode that is the most desirable to the victim is the command to commit suicide. In this case a method of reaching death may be employed that will not mutilate the body. And this the Chinese set great store by, for it is their great desire to appear in the next world with their bodies intact, This is a privilege, however, only accorded to officers of very high rank. For criminals, of no status, strangulation is preferred. This is accomplished in the same way as the Spanish garrote. Capital punishment is Plso inflicted by decapitation, crucifixion, and what is most dreaded, because most degrading, by a fiendish method of slashing the body to pieces, whilst avoiding the chief blood-vessels, previous to relieving the culprit of his head, so that he may enter the next world, not only headless, but with scarcely any flesh on his bones. The tortures and punishments here described are still common throughout the length and breadth of the Celestial empire.

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