Ling Chi, or slow slicing, was used as a method of execution in China for a thousand years -- the first records of this practice date back to roughly 900 AD -- until it was outlawed in 1905. Also known as death by a thousand cuts, ling chi involved the slow, systematic cutting of non-vital body parts with a sharp blade, causing prolonged suffering. First, flesh was cut off the arms, legs and chest, then limbs were amputated, and finally a fatal cut was delivered either to the throat or heart. In some cases, the condemned was killed first, and the mutilation of the body occurred post-mortem, as a form of humiliation and punishment after death. According to Confucian principles, a victim of ling chi would not be "whole" in the afterlife.
Pictured is an illustration printed in an 1858 French newspaper, depicting the execution of a French missionary in China. A particularly gruesome photograph of the practice of slow slicing may be seen here
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