Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

China Fact-Early Chinese Law

Posted by w_thames_the_d on September 20, 2010


China is collectivistic which means they first think of themselves as the group or clan and lastly as an individual. An early punishment in China actually reinforces this notion. The punishment, see below, was that of killing off the entire clan or family of a person who was accused of treason.

“Han law subjected convicted traitors to miè zú (“extermination of the clan”).139 The early ordinance for this form of capital punishment read:

Those who (have committed crimes) equivalent to (the punishment of the extermination of) the three clans, are all first tattooed, and have their nose, their left and their right foot amputated. (Then) they are killed by bastinadoing; their head is hung up and their bones and flesh are cut to pieces in the market-place. Those who (have committed the crime of) speaking evil and criticizing, or of reviling and imprecating (against the government or the emperor) moreover first have their tongue cut off.1HULSEWÉ, supra note 1, at 112; see id. At 116-20 – Cited in Windrow pg 32

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