Death by a Thousand cuts

Jamal Ballouk
2 min readFeb 10, 2023

A brutal Chinese death penalty for the afterlife too

Lingshi the Death Penalty — By Jamal Ballouk

The Lingchi execution method, also known as “death by a thousand cuts”, was a brutal and inhumane way of putting criminals to death in ancient China. The name itself, Lingchi, translates to “slow slicing” in English, and it’s not hard to imagine why.

The practice of Lingchi was carried out in public, often in a marketplace or town square, in order to serve as a deterrent for others. The criminal was tied to a wooden frame and then sliced with a knife in a deliberate and slow manner, starting with the chest and gradually working down the body. This process could take several hours and the goal was not to kill the criminal quickly, but to prolong the agony and suffering until the eventual death.

In some cases, the cuts were not deep enough to cause death immediately, allowing the criminal to experience extreme pain and suffer for a longer period of time. This cruel form of execution was reserved for particularly heinous crimes such as treason, murder, and other acts of violence against the state.

The end of the Lingchi execution practice came in the early 1900s as China began to modernize and move away from such brutal forms of punishment. Nevertheless, the memory of this brutal form of execution lives on as a warning of the cruelty that humans are capable of.

It’s hard to imagine the fear and horror that the criminals must have felt as they faced this torturous form of death. The Lingchi execution serves as a reminder of the importance of treating all people with dignity and respect, even those who have committed terrible crimes.

In conclusion, the Lingchi execution serves as a warning of what humans can do when they prioritize punishment over compassion and mercy. The brutal and inhumane nature of this form of execution has rightfully been abolished, but it remains a haunting reminder of what can happen when people allow cruelty to dictate their actions.

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Jamal Ballouk

Because somebody had to write about the tragedy of existence with a sense of humor.